Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka believes he has learned from Louis van Gaal despite having never met the Dutchman.
Karanka joined Middlesbrough in 2013 after spending time with Spain’s U16 side and then as assistant to Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid.
The 42-year-old is preparing to take his side to Old Trafford to face van Gaal’s Manchester United in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.
Karanka feels he has been influenced by the veteran manager despite having never met.
“I played against Van Gaal’s team when he was in Barcelona and Jose [Mourinho] was his assistant but we have never met for a chat and I don’t really know him,” Karanka said.
“But Jose told me all about his CV, his trophies and his career and he is a top, top manager. He is an interesting coach and he is particularly interesting for me because I have learned with Jose and Jose learned from van Gaal. I took the lessons from Jose so I feel I have learned from van Gaal too.
“Jose always speaks very well of van Gaal and he said that he learned a lot from him when he worked with him. He said he has mixed things like everybody to make himself better. Everybody has to take the good things from relationship and he considers van Gaal really positively.
“I am my own manager but as I learn I would like to think I have taken positive things from strong relationships I’ve had.”
United are strong favourites for the clash against Middlesbrough but supporters will know anything can happen, particularly after van Gaal’s side were knocked out of the competition by MK Dons last term. Van Gaal will undoubtedly warn his side against complacency on Wednesday.