Van Gaal refuses to be drawn into Mourinho’s mind games

Manchester United manager says it may be three months until team is successful

Louis van Gaal: “I play against Chelsea. And not against Jose Mourinho. My team and his team are playing against each other.” Photograph: Getty

Louis van Gaal: “I play against Chelsea. And not against Jose Mourinho. My team and his team are playing against each other.” Photograph: Getty

 

Louis van Gaal insists he will not be provoked into a war of words by Jose Mourinho after the Chelsea manager fired the first shots of the season by criticising Luke Shaw’s wage demands.

The Portuguese claimed the left-back would have joined Chelsea but his salary would have “killed” the club. Mourinho often tries to engage opposing managers in mind games, with Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger and Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini among his targets last season.

Van Gaal, who made Mourinho his protégé by appointing him as his assistant at Barcelona in 1997, is refusing to let Mourinho get under his skin, however, before United and Chelsea meet for the first time at Old Trafford on October 26th.

“He shall not do that with me,” Van Gaal said. “I play against Chelsea. And not against Jose Mourinho. My team and his team are playing against each other.”

Asked about Mourinho’s comments about Shaw, Van Gaal said: “No. I’m not reacting to that kind of stuff.”

Three months

“Every club where I have been, I have struggled for the first three months. After that, they know what I want: how I am as a human being and also a manager, because I am very direct,” he said. “I say things as they are, so you have to adapt to that way of coaching. It’s not so easy. And also the way I train and coach is in the brains and not the legs. You have seen my exercises with all the tactical arguments, [approaches] and not without the tactical arguments [approaches].

“I am not for running [for its own sake] and I am for running with the ball but they [PLAYERS]like that, of course. But the most important thing is they have to know why we do things and when they do, the football player is not playing intuitively.

“A lot of players are playing intuitively and I want them to think and know why they do something. That’s a process that is difficult at first and in the first three months. It takes time.”

Vision

“That is always my philosophy. I’m not a coach who thinks short term. I am a coach who thinks always in the long term,” he said. “The way you see Barcelona [are] still playing with six players from my time because I gave a lot of chances to the youth players – the structure and the culture of the club is Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, [Victor] Valdes . . .

“At Bayern Munich it was the same. You can see that in [Thomas] Muller, [David] Alaba, [Toni] Kroos, that kind of player. So I am always for the long term, not the short term.

“When I buy, I buy players for the long term because I do respect the club a lot and also the other clubs.”

Van Gaal also talked of why he likes to promote youth players from within. “The argument for that is when you use youth players of the club they know the culture of the club and they want to defend that culture and wear that culture and transfer that culture,” the 62-year-old said.

“When you buy a player from outside you have to wait and see, not every player will fulfil your expectation. It is much more difficult, also for the player.” Guardian Service

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