Van Gaal brushes off Mourinho jibe: can he be provoked?
New Manchester United boss shrugs off attempts by press and rivals to unsettle him
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has warned his Chelsea counterpart, Jose Mourinho, and other Premier League bosses that he will not be drawn into mind games this season, and has already taken umbrage at attempts by the media to put words in his mouth.
His refusal to join in the traditional Premier League finger-jabbing came after the Special One appeared to fire a barb in the direction of Man United, by claiming that £27m-teenager Luke Shaw's wage demands, reportedly £100,000 a week, would have "killed" Chelsea.
Mourinho, says the Daily Telegraph, is the man most likely to "wage psychological warfare on Van Gaal". But when the comments were put to him, Van Gaal dodged the bullet by telling reporters: "I'm not reacting to that kind of stuff." And when asked if he thought Mourinho would try to provoke him this season he added: "No. He shall not do that with me."
With the media already licking their lips at the prospect of Mourinho facing his former boss in October, the United manager poured cold water on the possibility of a feud with the man he employed as his assistant at Barcelona in the 1990s. "I play against Chelsea, and not against Jose Mourinho," he said. "My team and his team are playing against each other."
Even more disappointing for those who like to stir the pot was Van Gaal's insistence earlier this week that he would enjoy a harmonious relationship with the other Premier League managers. "I have full respect for all my colleagues," he said, reports Yahoo. He even expressed admiration for Manchester City and their recent successes.
It looks as though anyone hoping to draw Van Gaal into an injudicious comment will have their work cut out, says The Times. James Ducker reports that numerous attempts by the press pack to lure the United boss into controversial waters have been "shot down" on the club's US tour.
"Van Gaal will not be provoked into saying anything. If he wants to say something controversial, he will do so because he wants to," he notes. "Above all else, Van Gaal — his reputation augmented by some tactical wizardry en route to guiding Holland to third place at the World Cup — carries the air of a man convinced about his own brilliance."