World Football

Jose Mourinho Comments on Louis van Gaal's Move to Manchester United

COBHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 02:  Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho talks to the press at the Chelsea Training Ground on May 2, 2014 in Cobham, England.  (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2014

Louis van Gaal's official appointment as Manchester United manager has many within Old Trafford rumbling with excitement, and fans of the club may be pleased to hear of Jose Mourinho's approval, too.

After the club announced on Monday afternoon that the Netherlands manager had signed a three-year deal with United, the Daily Mail's David Kent quoted Mourinho in speaking highly of "great guy" Van Gaal:

"He is a great football manager and I am happy he joins me in the same country and the Premier League. But more important than that, he's a great guy, a great man and I wish him good."

Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

Mourinho worked as Van Gaal's assistant manager while the pair were at Barcelona together between 1997 and 2000, during which time La Blaugrana won two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey and the UEFA Super Cup.

Van Gaal brings a great deal of management pedigree to the Theatre of Dreams as Manchester United's first-ever foreign manager.

Infostrada Sports illustrates just how much the former Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Ajax boss has in common with the Chelsea tactician, with whom he'll now come into direct competition next season:

Van Gaal will officially take the United helm after the World Cup, when his duties as Netherlands manager are complete, but he's already eyeing up big accomplishments in the new position, per Sky News:

I have managed in games at Old Trafford before and know what an incredible arena Old Trafford is and how passionate and knowledgeable the fans are. This club has big ambitions; I too have big ambitions. Together I'm sure we will make history.

And it's at that point where Mourinho may look to end the niceties, with his Blues having just come off the back of a trophy-less first season, Mourinho's first campaign back in England.

Both clubs are under pressure to perform in 2014-15. United are still reeling from the slump to seventh place that came under David Moyes' guidance, while Chelsea were left empty-handed, finishing third in the league and bowing out in the Champions League semi-finals.

Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

Van Gaal won't have the distraction of European football to contend with, at least not during his maiden season at Old Trafford, adding that much more significance to the domestic meetings of the managerial minds between the pair.

Each tactician will have some understanding of how their counterpart works given the history they share with one another. What could be a rivalry to mark for years to come appears to be off to an amicable start.

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