The Portuguese earned his trade in the footballing management business as van Gaal’s No.2 at Barcelona for three years, before taking charge of União de Leiria in 2001.
Mourinho superseded his old boss earlier this year following the Dutchman’s failure to secure Champions League qualification for the 2016/17 campaign.
Blind, signed by Van Gaal in August 2014, has claimed the two managers differ when it comes to their attitudes to winning.
“I am fortunate enough to have worked with a number of big coaches,” he said.
“I learn a lot from Mourinho on a daily basis and he is a good guy, He is pretty similar to Van Gaal when it comes to their commitment to the team.
“They used to work together so I reckon that is no coincidence. Everybody likes it when your boss shows an interest in you. Mourinho earned himself the nickname ‘The Special One’ because of everything he has achieved.
“He is an excellent coach who has an eye for details. He is very strong tactically. But his philosophy is slightly different to that of Van Gaal. He is very direct, it is all about winning. But I think we are on the right path as a team.”
Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Man United in April 2014 was perhaps the clearest illustration of the contrast of styles between van Gaal and Mourinho.
United, somewhat hitting their stride under the Dutchman, dominated the game: they shifted the ball around with intent, expertly maintaining possession whilst keeping their perfect defensive structure in tact. Keep the ball, stay disciplined, grind them down, and wait for an opening – it was completely evocative of van Gaal’s entire philosophy.
And then there was Mourinho’s Chelsea – an inherently unlikeable but unquestionably ruthless outfit. The message, just like with van Gaal’s United, was clear: get out there, be brutal and win – it doesn’t matter how. Just win.
The winner that day, as we all know, was Mourinho. The Portuguese handed his past tutor a valuable piece of advice that he refused to take: in the Premier League your own ideas come second, and winning comes first.