Ander Herrera could be forgiven if he was quietly pleased about Manchester United’s decision to sack Louis van Gaal last month.
The Spanish midfielder never appeared to truly convince the veteran Dutch coach and often found himself on the substitutes’ bench during his two years working under him at Old Trafford.
Herrera, in an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca, has now revealed how he feels about the Red Devils’ decision to sack Van Gaal - as well as his thoughts on Jose Mourinho’s arrival.
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Asked if he was surprised by Van Gaal’s dismissal, Herrera responded: “Nothing surprises you in football today. United have to fight for every title and, when they lose that fight, this is one of the outcomes.
“In many ways I think he has done a good job. I'm grateful to him because he signed me and so gave me the opportunity to play more than 70 games, in two years, at arguably the world's largest club.”
Herera: It wasn't a comfortable time
Asked if the continuous speculation of Van Gaal’s future unsettled the players, he continued: “It wasn't a comfortable time, but we are professionals, and so we didn't allow it to distract us.
“I must say that the coach remained strong throughout. He never showed signs of surrender and, in the end, we won the FA Cup. Van Gaal is an honest guy and has always put Manchester United above all else.”
Considering he wasn’t one of Van Gaal’s favourites - or so it appeared - Herrera has been very fair and diplomatic with his comments about his former boss.
Herrera excited to work under Mourinho
However, the 26-year-old admits he’s excited about the prospect of working under Mourinho - a man he regards as one of football’s most successful managers.
“I’ve had great coaches: Marcelino, with whom I made my debut; Aguirre, Bielsa. Valverde; who taught me how to handle the locker room and is a fantastic guy,” Herrera added. “Then came Van Gaal and Mou now, who is the most successful coach, alongside Pep Guardiola.
“He has won the league in four countries, the Champions League with Inter and Porto and lead Chelsea to become champions twice. So for me this is a unique opportunity that will push me the maximum.”
Fans will hope to see an improvement in Herrera
United fans have only seen glimpses of Herrera, who signed from Athletic Bilbao in the summer of 2014, at his best at Old Trafford.
They will now be hoping Mourinho can succeed where Van Gaal failed in terms of bringing the best out of the dynamic midfielder.
Will Ander Herrera become an important player under Jose Mourinho? Have your say by leaving a comment below.