Louis van Gaal insisted he has no regrets over turning down Tottenham after watching his Manchester United side suffer a damaging 3-0 Premier League defeat at White Hart Lane.
Van Gaal said he “came very close” to taking charge of Tottenham during the close season of 2014 before plumping for the vacant post at Old Trafford.
The Dutchman has rarely suggested a repeat of the success he enjoyed with Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich during the latest chapter of a decorated career, while Tottenham have gone from strength to strength under their eventual choice, Mauricio Pochettino.
This apparent gulf was emphatically underlined on Sunday, as second-half goals in the space of six breath-taking minutes from Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela maintained Tottenham’s push in the battle for the Premier League with leaders Leicester City.
By contrast, United’s more modest aim of securing the top-four finish Leicester are now guaranteed was knocked off course as they slumped to four points behind rivals Manchester City.
Not that any of this made Van Gaal question his decision and he bridled at the notion during his post-match news conference.
“I think on balance we are still ahead [of Tottenham],” he said. “And you take one match and say the challenge is bigger?
“The challenge is bigger at a bigger club. I liked Tottenham, and [Spurs chairman] Daniel Levy knows that, but I like big challenges and Manchester United is a bigger club.
“I think it is pathetic to ask that because they win 3-0.”
Kick-off was delayed by half an hour after the United team bus got caught in London traffic but Van Gaal denied this was a factor in their loss, citing a strong start to the contest.
“No, I don’t think so. In the first 20 minutes we were the better team,” he added.
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