Two coaches may now face each other in opposite dugouts in the Premier League next season.
Netherlands national team boss and the new favourite for the Manchester United job, Louis van Gaal, says that he knew that Jose Mourinho would be a special coach the day he was shouted at by the Portuguese, according to reports in the Daily Mirror.
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At the time of the incident back in 1996, Mourinho was working as an assistant to the then FC Barcelona head coach Bobby Robson at Camp Nou.
However, when Robson and Mou were suddenly invited to attend a meeting with the Barca president Josep Nunez at the end of the 1995-96 campaign, the duo were informed that Van Gaal was arriving in Catalonia to become the new manager of the La Liga giants.
Robson was then informed that he was to be moved upstairs to become the club’s technical director, while Mou was to be let go, a decision that Van Gaal recalls did not go down too well with the aspiring young coach.
“Mourinho thought he’d been promised the youth academy job and even that he might be the next manager and hadn’t been told,” recalls Van Gaal.
“He was so angry and shouted so much about not being consulted that I was impressed. On that day he was a Special One and because of that I hired him.
“I learned that day he was special. He told me who he was and we worked together for three years.
“After one year he could have left but he stayed. He was an excellent co-trainer, a substitute coach. He carried out all the analysis for Barcelona and studied all the opponents.
“Also, and I don’t do it very often, I let him coach matches, because I was convinced he had specific qualities.
“We have been observing each other ever since and been sending text messages. Little did I know he would be such a great coach.
“He was an excellent coach then but now he is one of the best in the world. And I don’t think many coaches can make that declaration.”