Saturday 21 April 2018

'It will be a special season if he takes over'- Man United midfielder predicts great things with Jose Mourinho in charge

Manchester United's Bastian Schweinsteiger
Manchester United's Bastian Schweinsteiger

Simon Peach

Bastian Schweinsteiger is predicting a "special season" at Old Trafford as Jose Mourinho edges closer to becoming Manchester United manager.

Louis van Gaal's uncomfortable two-year residency came to an end on Monday, with last weekend's FA Cup success not enough to mask poor Barclays Premier League performances in terms of style and substance.

United just missed out on a top-four place to neighbours Manchester City, meaning the Europa League rather than Champions League now awaits.

Mourinho will have the task of reviving the Red Devils' ailing fortunes and Press Association Sport understands talks continue after his agent Jorge Mendes met executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in London on Tuesday.

Intricacies such as image rights are believed to be being worked on, but it still appears a case of when rather than if the deal is announced. An announcement was not expected until Thursday at the earliest, however.

Former Chelsea manager Mourinho described United as a "monster club" last October and midfielder Schweinsteiger is excited by his impending arrival at Old Trafford.

"We don't know who will be our new manager yet, but it looks like it's going to be an interesting derby in Manchester next season," the Germany captain said, with Pep Guardiola arriving at the Etihad Stadium.

"The enthusiasm for football in Manchester is great and, if Mourinho does take over at United, I think all of the players want to train under him so it's going to be quite a special season."

Schweinsteiger is understandably excited by the future under the self-styled 'Special One', but also keen to express his gratitude to Van Gaal Brought to Old Trafford by him last summer after working together at Bayern Munich, the 31-year thanked the Dutchman for the impact he has had on his career.

"I think Louis van Gaal and I have a very special relationship. He moved me into the centre of the midfield at Bayern and I've got a lot to thank him for,"said Schweinsteiger, speaking at a press conference in Germany's pre-Euro 2016 training camp in Ascona, Switzerland.

"Also, my move to United was because of him. I will never say any bad words about somebody for whom I have so much to thank.

"Quite the opposite. Even if we were not always of the same opinion, we had a good relationship. I admire him as a coach and, despite a difficult season with really much injury misfortune, he still ended it with a good title.

"It's been two years since United last won a title and I think that was a good ending also for him."

Whether the FA Cup triumph against Crystal Palace is also the end of Ryan Giggs' United connection remains to be seen.

The position of United's most decorated player is uncertain, with reports suggesting the former winger is considering ending his near 29-year association with the club.

Press Association Sport understands Giggs has an offer to stay on at United, although it is unclear what that role would be, having been assistant to Van Gaal.

Sources close to Gary Neville suggest the England coach and former United defender would not be interested in returning to club as part of Mourinho's backroom team, but the incoming boss is sure to want to bring in his own men.

No confirmation on the fate of Van Gaal's backroom team has yet been made, but it has been widely reported that assistant coaches Albert Stuivenberg and Frans Hoek, as well as performance analyst Max Reckers, have left.

They all remain listed on United's website, though, as do training physiologist Jos van Dijk and assistant coach Marcel Bout, who specialises in opposition scouting.

Press Association

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