Mourinho ready for nice battle with Van Gaal

Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal
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Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has hailed Louis Van Gaal as a “nice guy” as he prepares to pit his wits against the veteran Dutchman in the Premier League next season.

Van Gaal has signed a three-year contract to take over at Old Trafford after the World Cup, with Ryan Giggs as his assistant.

Mourinho said: “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.”

Van Gaal vowed to “make history” on a big news day at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal’s long-awaited appointment was confirmed alongside that of Giggs as his assistant, with the Welshman ending his glittering playing career as a result.

Van Gaal said: “It was always a wish for me to work in the Premier League. To work as a manager for Manchester United, the biggest club in the world, makes me very proud.

“I have managed in games at Old Trafford before and know what an incredible arena it 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.”

United immediately identified former Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich coach Van Gaal as a top target after David Moyes was sacked in April.

His vast experience of both winning trophies and handling top-level players, combined with his availability, made him an ideal candidate.

Former United assistant manager Mike Phelan said Van Gaal’s “strong personality” would make him the ideal fit to step into the considerable shoes of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Phelan told BBC Five Live: “I’ve met [Van Gaal] a couple of times and he’s got a very strong personality about him.”