Van Gaal dubs Mourinho 'boring' but ex-United boss guilty of dreary football
Louis van Gaal has accused Jose Mourinho of playing more boring football than he did as manager of Manchester United.
It is an opportune time for the Dutchman to speak up, after Mourinho's United were dismantled by Pep Guardiola and Manchester City on Sunday.
Mourinho has been criticised in the aftermath for defensive tactics that allowed City to dominate the game -- even if it did take two fortunate goals to secure a 2-1 win. Van Gaal claims that in two years at Old Trafford, he played football that was "quite all right" but "not appreciated in England". He went on to suggest that "Mourinho is not being criticised while it's far more boring football."
The statistics, however, and their respective records, do not back it up. Here's a look at how Mourinho is faring as United boss in comparison to Van Gaal.
Mourinho was quick to accept last season that the 54 goals United scored in the Premier League was not enough. However, in Van Gaal's last season -- 2015-16 -- he managed to set a new club record of just 49 goals in a league season.
In 103 games with Van Gaal as manager, United scored four or more in a game just four times. Mourinho has already managed it 14 times.
More than one in five games under Van Gaal ended with United not scoring at all with 23 blanks in his 103 games. Mourinho's United have failed to score in just 13 of their 89 games. During the 2015-16 season, United managed just 27 goals at Old Trafford in the Premier League -- their lowest ever total. In eight games this season, Mourinho's United have already got 21.
Van Gaal's win percentage at United was 52.43 percent, worse than David Moyes' of 52.94 percent. After nearly 18 months in charge, Mourinho's is 61.8 percent.
Van Gaal recorded 53 wins as manager of United. Mourinho, in half a season less, has already recorded 54.
In 2015-16 alone, United lost 10 league games -- only the second time they had reached double figures in the Premier League era. Even after Sunday's defeat to City, Mourinho has still only lost eight league games in charge of United.
Aside from more wins and more goals, Mourinho has already been more successful than Van Gaal. The Dutchman led United to the FA Cup in 2016 but didn't come close to winning anything else during his two seasons as manager. Mourinho, meanwhile, needed just one campaign to lift the League Cup and the Europa League -- the last trophy United needed to complete their honours board. Mourinho also become the first United manager to win a trophy -- not just the Community Shield -- in his first season.
On top of that, United are at least involved in the title race for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and have the chance to make it to the final stages of the Champions League.
Mourinho has made Old Trafford a fortress again. The 40-game unbeaten run that was ended on Sunday equalled a club record set between 1964 and 1966. Mourinho has still only lost two games at Old Trafford -- both to Manchester City.
In Van Gaal's first season alone, Swansea, Southampton, Arsenal and West Brom all recorded victories at Old Trafford. In his second season, it was Norwich and Southampton.
The Champions League
Van Gaal got United back into the Champions League after a disastrous campaign under Moyes. But once he was there, he struggled. Drawn in what should have been a straightforward group with Wolfsburg, PSV Eindhoven and CSKA Moscow, United won just two of their six games and went crashing out. Even Moyes made it out of the group during his campaign in charge.
In contrast, this season United have breezed through to the knockout stages. They won five of their six games against Benfica, Basel and CSKA Moscow to comfortably top the group and earn a place in the round-of-16 where they have been rewarded with a winnable tie against Sevilla.
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.