Juan Mata opens up on his close relationship with former United manager

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Midfielder Juan Mata has opened up on his close relationship with former United manager Louis van Gaal.

The Spaniard also described the Dutch tactician as a nice man who was more than a coach to him.

“I arrive in the room and it was him, Ryan Giggs and a bottle of Rioja, red wine, with three glasses,” the Spaniard told United’s official podcast.

“He was like: ‘Do you want a drink?’ and I was: ‘No, no, I’m fine’. He had a drink and said: ‘Tell me who you are’. I mean my name is Juan, I am 26, I play football. ‘No, no. Tell me who you are as a man. Do you have a family? What do you find important in life?

“From that moment, he can look scary face to face and sometimes goes close to you but, after that, he was a very warm and genuine man. He was more than a football manager with tactics, he is a great human being and I learned a lot from him.”

“He was scary. I tell you. He was a very nice man; a very, very nice man; very genuine and very sensible. You wouldn’t expect that but he was very sensible,” the 31-year-old added.

“He could get emotional and was crying sometimes when he was speaking about important matters. When he found the right values, the right football, he got emotional.”

Van Gaal won the FA Cup during his two-year reign at Old Trafford before being replaced by Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2016.

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