Van Gaal dismisses Mourinho reports

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has rejected claims that former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is being lined up as his replacement at Old Trafford.

The Dutch manager’s position at the Premier League outfit has been called into doubt in recent times, despite an upturn in form and results.

Mourinho was sacked by the Blues in December following a torrid start to their title defence, and reports in England have suggested that Red Devils chiefs are lining up the Portuguese tactician to replace Van Gaal at the Old Trafford helm.

However, the former Netherlands coach has moved swiftly to downplay reports claiming he is on the verge of being sacked and replaced by Mourinho.

“There has been such nonsense created about me,” Van Gaal said. “I don’t believe there is already a relationship between Jose Mourinho and Manchester United because I have seen what has happened here over the last two months.

“It has been very difficult for me, for my wife, for my kids, for my grandchildren and for my friends to cope with that. But it is the football world these days.

“I never had doubts but it is still remarkable that after the four defeats in a row we have started to win.

“I hope it has given the fans the stimulus to now believe in the manager.”

He added: “The aim here is still the same – to qualify for the Champions League and to finish one step higher than last year, so third place.

“Leicester have opened a big gap from us but it is still possible.

“We are in a very good mood. Winning puts you in a good mood. It is very important to be there in April, five points or less from the top.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel. Phil Jones is coming back, Marcos Rojo is coming back, Antonio Valencia is coming back.

“We have managed to survive and we are only five points behind the top four. That isn’t bad.”