Van Gaal's comments about the Dutch echo Mourinho's approach this season

Newly appointed Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has asserted the Netherlands are underdogs this summer in the World Cup in Brazil.

The 62-year-old Dutch coach was confirmed earlier this month as the man to take over at Old Trafford on a permanent basis following the dismissal of David Moyes at Manchester United.

However, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss will first be focused on his duties this summer at the World Cup in Brazil where he hopes to lead the Netherlands to glory.

The Red Devils’ appointment is a former colleague and mentor of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and, judging by his comments suggesting the Netherlands are underdogs, Louis van Gaal has got the same tricks up his sleeve as the Portuguese Blues coach.

“I like being in this position. This way we can work in peace and quiet,” said Van Gaal.

“I am certain that we can surprise some people with this team.”

I very much doubt many people would be overly surprised to see the Dutch team succeed in Brazil, given the abundance of talent within Van Gaal’s squad including the likes of Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Dirk Kuyt and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when I heard this comment as we have been hearing much the same rhetoric all season long in the Premier League and Champions League from Mourinho.

The Special One claimed PSG must have been glad to draw ‘underdogs’ Chelsea in the Champions League this term and insisted his team were not expecting to win the Premier League title this term, describing the Blues as a ‘little horse’.

"The title race is between two horses and a little horse that needs milk and needs to learn how to jump," he said. "Maybe next season we can race."

However, Mourinho may in fact have been taking his ‘mind games’ lessons from Van Gaal who described his 2009/10 Bayern Munich side who won the Bundesliga title as underdogs to reach the semi-finals of the competition. They went on to lose on penalties to Chelsea in the Final, of course.

Regardless of who is copying whom, it’s clear that playing the underdog card has become something of a trend for top managers at top clubs in top competitions but the question we must ask ourselves is ‘why?’

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