Adnan Januzaj hopes gym sessions will help Manchester United winger 'get tougher' when he steps onto the pitch

Belgian winger hoping to get stronger and 'tougher' on the pitch

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The Independent Football

Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj has revealed he is spending extra time in the gym in an attempt to "be tougher" when he steps onto the pitch.

The 20-year-old was brilliant in a breakout season under David Moyes last term, but has struggled to make the grade under new coach Louis van Gaal, who has started him in just seven Premier League matches this season.

With British record signing Angel Di Maria suspended for the match on Sunday, and struggling for form, and Ashley Young a doubt because of injury, Januzaj may be in line to start against Spurs.


"I do a lot of work in the gym. I am trying to be faster and stronger so I can be tougher when I go out on the pitch," Januzaj told the Manchester United website.

"I am doing a lot of short, sharp stuff so, when I turn a defender or go past a player, I can just get a few metres away from them with my acceleration."

United fans are used to watching fast wingers speed up and down the flanks at Old Trafford, but more often than not, they have been subjected to slow, unimaginative performances from their team this season.

United may have lost just two of their last 18 Premier League games, but Van Gaal has come in for criticism because of the team's style of play.

Former Barcelona and Chelsea assistant, Henk Ten Cate, who spent a year with Van Gaal while he was doing his training badges, thinks United should stick with his compatriot though.

"You have to give him time because, for me, he is one of the best coaches there is," Ten Cate told talkSPORT.

"I worked closely with him for one year when I was going through the stages to get my coaching licence. I saw what he was doing and the only thing he has to do is get used to the way of playing in England.

"If the owners of the club gave him that much confidence and that much money to spend, it is not a good thing to say goodbye to the coach after one season because it is starting to become his team.

"He needs a little more time but I am almost positive that he is going to surprise Britain with his (style of) football."

Ten Cate admits United's play has not been up to Van Gaal's standards so far, however.

"I know him well and he is the kind of guy who doesn't just go for results, he wants his teams to play good football. He has proved that in the past," Ten Cate said.

"Right now at Manchester United the way they are playing is absolutely not good. But it is not the style of Van Gaal."

Additional reporting from PA