Van Gaal has been in charge of first-team operations at Manchester United for over a year now following David Moyes’ disappointing spell at the club.
The Dutchman has been known to have some very high profile fallouts with players such as Rivaldo and Mark Van Bommel throughout his career, and most recently, Victor Valdes at Old Trafford.
However, Mata has spoken warmly of van Gaal, labelling the 64-year-old as “a good person”.
“I like Van Gaal as a coach. I like my coaches to be good people and he is,” Mata said.
“He is just like you see in the press room. When he has something bad to tell you, he says it to your face, and when he needs to be friendly, he is. When things go badly he shouts, but when you do something well he gives you a big hug and a kiss.”
Mata’s thoughts on van Gaal suggest that regardless of results, the Old Trafford dressing room is a happy place to be, something which is vital if the club is to challenge on all fronts this campaign.
Van Gaal’s reputation as an autocrat preceded him before he became manager at Old Trafford, but Mata’s words suggest that the Dutchman has taken a more relaxed approach since he became boss, and will not lose his temper unless completely necessary.
Largely speaking, van Gaal has done a good job since joining the club. However, a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal on Sunday reminded supporters that there is still work to be done if United are to become a global force once again.