Louis van Gaal has criticised Jose Mourinho, claiming Manchester United play “far more boring football” under the Portuguese than they ever did with him at the helm.
And the former United manager – who was sacked in May last year, after winning the FA Cup, and replaced by Mourinho – said he much preferred to watch Manchester City than “defensive” Mourinho’s side.
Mourinho saw United fall 11 points behind leaders City after Sunday’s 2-1 derby defeat at Old Trafford, when he attracted criticism for his negative approach and his mood is unlikely to have been improved by Van Gaal’s remarks.
United scored just 49 goals in the entirety of the 2015-16 campaign under Van Gaal, their lowest tally since 1990, and only 13 more than Mourinho’s team have managed after 16 league games this season.
But Van Gaal is adamant his United were a better watch and rubbed salt into Mourinho’s wounds by claiming Pep Guardiola’s City were far more entertaining.
“I would rather watch City than United,” said the Dutchman. “You need quality in a squad and it’s clear City have a better squad. If you ask me how did I do at United, I will say it was my best year ever, given the circumstances I was working under. We played football that was quite all right. But it’s not football that is appreciated in England. And yet, right now, looking at United, I have to conclude Mourinho is not being criticised while it’s far more boring football.
“What United produce now is defensive football. I always played attacking football. The proof is that the opposition were always parking the bus. They don’t do that now because Jose plays so defensive.”
Van Gaal said he had no problem with Mourinho, his former assistant at Barcelona, taking his job at Old Trafford and instead trained his anger on the club’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, who sacked him 24 hours after winning the FA Cup. “He [Mourinho] is not an awful man,” said Van Gaal. “In fact, I think he is a sympathetic guy. He was my assistant at Barcelona. I worked with him and what Mourinho did [taking his job] is what often happens in football.
“I have more problems with the CEO, Ed Woodward. He never discussed anything with me – and you can talk about anything with me.
“With all my experience, I know the unwritten laws of football. A club has to prepare for the future. I can understand that and they should have approached me. Ed could talk to me but he did not.
“My wife [Truus] had to find out when she was in the lift with Woodward’s family. They said something like, ‘This is going to be awkward for Ed’. My wife had sussed them out ages ago. She warned me that something was going on.”
Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera, meanwhile, has called on the Football Association to allow clubs to appeal against bookings after condemning referee Michael Oliver’s decision not to award his side a penalty against City.
Herrera went down under a challenge from Nicolas Otamendi in the second half, but Oliver booked the Spaniard for diving.
“I touched the ball first and he stamped on my foot,” he said. “I think everyone saw it. Everyone can make mistakes too, also the referee.
“Now that is my fourth yellow card and that is a big problem for me because I want to play every game. In Spain, if you get something undeserved you can appeal and they take it out. That is one of the things that could improve the Premier League.”