Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho dedicated the Red Devils’ 2-1 victory over Leicester City in Sunday’s Community Shield to former boss Louis van Gaal.
Dutchman Van Gaal was dismissed at the end of last season despite United’s FA Cup final victory, paving the way for Mourinho to take over at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese earned his first silverware as United manager as debutant Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a late winner on his competitive debut after Jamie Vardy had cancelled out Jesse Lingard’s fine solo opener.
And Mourinho paid tribute to Van Gaal – who he worked with at Barcelona – for the laying the groundwork for United’s victory.
“I want to dedicate the win to eight people, the seven players who were not selected and the person who allowed us to be here, which is Louis Van Gaal,” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“Without him, we wouldn’t be celebrating.
“It is an important victory but, of course, we have lots of work to do. Some of these guys have been in training for one week, [Anthony] Martial, Ibrahimovic, [Marouane] Fellaini – it’s not a full pre-season.
“But it is always important to start with a trophy.”
Despite Ibrahimovic netting the winning goal on his first competitive appearance for United, Mourinho expects the Swedish striker to offer more in coming weeks and saved some words of praise for new centre-back Eric Bailly.
“Zlatan will be more dangerous when we’re more dominant and play closer to the box,” he said.
“He is not a player to play 50 metres from the box and be dangerous. He needs them [United team-mates] to produce for him and we need to change that, this team was more about possession and recycling the ball.
“We are trying to change and the second goal is a great example of that.
“Bailly was the perfect opponent for them [Vardy and Ahmed Musa] because he is as fast as they are.
“You have a question mark when players come from a different level, but without [Chris] Smalling, the way he played was really good, but Daley [Blind] gave him the stability he needed.”