Van Gaal: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ‘defensive’ Man Utd can KO Barcelona and win the Champions League
Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side’s style of play can win them the Champions League.
But the Dutchman says Solskjaer’s success is largely off the back of the defensive work done by previous manager Jose Mourinho.
Solskjaer has turned the club around since replacing Mourinho in December and has led the club to 10 wins from 13 Premier League games.
They have losing just once in the league to guide the club to fifth place in the table, just two points adrift of the final Champions League qualifying place.
He has also guided United into the Champions League quarter-finals after a remarkable 3-1 win at Paris St-Germain in the second leg set up a last-eight meeting with Barcelona.
But Van Gaal –who was brought into the club as successor to David Moyes and led the club a fourth-placed finish in his first season in charge before winning the FA Cup in his second – says all the hard work was done by Mourinho.
The 67-year-old also questioned whether the brand of football produced by Solskjaer is more exciting than during his time at the helm.
He said: “The way Manchester United are playing now is not the way Ferguson played.
“It is defensive, counter-attacking football. If you like it, you like it. If you think it is more exciting than my boring attacking, okay – but it is not my truth.
“Solskjaer has just lost twice and he has to manage that. It is very important that Manchester United qualifies for the Champions League, as it was when I was manager.
“But they can also win the Champions League because they play a defensive system and it is very difficult to beat them, which, whether you like it or not, is the result of Mourinho’s work.”
Van Gaal was sacked at the end of his second season immediately after winning the FA Cup and replaced in the Old Trafford hotseat by Jose Mourinho.
And the Dutchman is still unhappy that the club made contact with Mourinho while he was still at the club.
Van Gaal said: “What I don’t like is Ed Woodward contacting my successor, knowing in his mind he will replace me and he keeps his mouth shut for six months.
“Every Friday I had to go into press conferences and be asked what I thought about the rumours. What does that do to the authority of the coach?
“To win the FA Cup when, for six months, the media has a noose round my neck, is my biggest achievement.
“I spoke to Woodward the day after that game. His argument was that I was only going to be there for one more year and Mourinho would be there for three, four or five.
“I appreciate he hired a private plane to get me back to Portugal but his arguments were not good enough.”