Jose Mourinho: Man United’s Louis van Gaal is an important friend to me

The Chelsea manager is full of admiration for his Manchester United counterpart

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles at Cobham

Jose Mourinho says Louis van Gaal will go down as one of the most important people in his career.

The Chelsea manager faces his former boss for the second time on Sunday as the Premier League leaders make the trip to Manchester United.

Mourinho spent four years learning his trade at Barcelona, working initially under Sir Bobby Robson before Van Gaal succeeded the England legend.

And the 51-year-old, who guided Inter Milan to a 2-0 win against Van Gaal’s Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in 2010, described Van Gaal as a very good friend.

“He was important [to me]. He gave me a good opportunity to work at a high level as a young coach,” Mourinho told his pre-match media conference.

“To work with Bobby and three with Louis at Barcelona was very important. If I have to choose important people in my career, he is amongst them.”

Mourinho continued: “We were never in the same league. In the Champions League, you depend on draws. It happened once. But that isn’t important.

“During the match, I have no time to look around and see who the opponent manager is. Before and after the match, he is one of my big friends in football and I’ll always be happy to welcome him.”

Pressed to talk about the United manager further, Mourinho, who was in high spirits throughout his pre-match media conference, added: “Please, Sunday he is going to be my opponent so don’t make me sit here half an hour speaking about him.”

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