Ander Herrera compares Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Man Utd.

December 19, 2022

Louis van Gaal made Ander Herrera one of his first signings as Manchester United boss before the Spaniard worked under two more managers during his time at the club..

Ander Herrera has praised Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the impact they had on him during his time at Manchester United.

Herrera, 33, spent five years at Old Trafford and worked under three different managers, with Van Gaal the one that brought him to the club in 2014. Herrera made the big-money move to United from Athletic Bilbao and became an instant hit at the Red Devils due to his tenacity, hard work and quality on the ball.

He scored eight times in 31 appearances during his first season at the Red Devils – the most prolific campaign of his career – and continued to improve under Van Gaal. The Dutchman left United at the end of the following season after the Red Devils lifted the FA Cup, with Herrera at the heart of their success.

When asked about his thoughts on Van Gaal, Herrera told United’s official website : “Of course, I learned a lot from him. I came from Marcelo Bielsa before joining United. I was with Bielsa and I was with Ernesto Valverde as well. Bielsa, overall, as a coach was very offensive and you all know from his time at Leeds. He wants the team to all the time be attacking and all of the players moving around. He doesn’t want one player stopped.

“I went to van Gaal and that was offensive football, he wants to attack, but he wanted to play a positional game and more every player in his position. It was the ball that had to move from player to player and that was, at the beginning, difficult for me.

“He told me a few times, ‘why do you move all the time?’, and I was used to it. I had come from a couple of managers where it was the player who moves. But after a couple of months, I got used to it. We won the FA Cup, we qualified for the Champions League and I improved. I learned a lot from him. It was a couple of years with Van Gaal and for me it was a good time.”

Following Van Gaal’s departure, Mourinho replaced him in the hot seat six months after he left rivals Chelsea. It proved to be a controversial appointment but there’s no denying the Portuguese boss brought success to the club. He guided the Red Devils to second in the Premier League behind Chelsea and won the EFL Cup and Europa League.

Herrera had fond memories of Mourinho and said: “He is one of the greatest managers of all time. One of the most successful managers of all time. He discovered a new position for me, he made me a more defensive midfielder. In the first season, we won three trophies: the Community Shield, the Europa League and League Cup. And we qualified for the Champions League, so it was a very successful season.

“I became an important player for him as well. He made me go to the national team as well. That was a key moment in my career. Also with him, I got the fans’ Player of the Season award and I am so thankful about our time together. He was also a little bit s***house [like me] as a coach, so it was a good time.

“It was a different football from Van Gaal, from Bielsa, from Valverde. I liked it, I liked to be part of the team, to help the team. That was more counter-attack football, a counter-attack team, but after that, at the end of the season, we won three trophies and qualified for the Champions League. It is not bad.”