Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal says he hopes to one day emulate Jose Mourinho - despite the fact that he was the one who gave the Chelsea manager his big break in football.
The Special One worked under Van Gaal at Barcelona after assisting Sir Bobby Robson at the Nou Camp, and has gone on to become one of the most decorated coaches in the game. He helped Chelsea claim back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, before leaving to guide Inter Milan to Serie A and Champions League glory.
He then left to help Real Madrid win the Spanish league title. He also won the Portuguese league title with Porto, making him one of the few coaches to have won league titles in four different countries.
Van Gaal meanwhile has three league titles in three different countries - Spain, Germany and Holland - and will hope to make it four during his time with Manchester United. Before he took over at Old Trafford, Van Gaal spoke glowingly of Mourinho at an award's dinner, saying he was the best in the game.
"He has won titles in a shorter time than me and he has won them in more than three countries" - Van Gaal on Mourinho
Now with Manchester United set to take on Chelsea this afternoon, Van Gaal has reiterated his claim and says he still aspires to be as good as his former employee.
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“Of course I meant that [Mourinho is better]. He has won titles in a shorter time than me and he has won them in more than three countries," Van Gaal said.
“I am next with championships in three countries and I want to do that again here, then I’ll be equal. I think he is one of the top trainer-coaches and managers in the world.
“All his teams are always well-organised. I like that and it is why he is a very good manager.”
Manchester United currently sit 10 points off Chelsea, who are at the top of the table having yet to taste defeat in the league. The pair have only gone head-to-head once; in the 2010 Champions League final, when Mourinho's Inter Milan side beat Van Gaal's Bayern Munich 2-0.
"The honourable Howard Webb did not give a penalty to us," the Manchester United boss said.
“That game was the only time we have played against each other. After the match I said congratulations to Jose – but not any more than that.”