The 62-year-old officially took over the Manchester United reins at the beginning of the week, having recently led the Netherlands to bronze at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Van Gaal’s appointment at United has breathed fresh impetus into the side, who endured their worst-ever Premier League campaign last term as David Moyes’ tumultuous 10-month spell in charge proved the catalyst in their seventh-placed finish.
When asked about how he feels having to come up against Van Gaal in the new campaign, Mourinho told the Mail on Sunday: “I’m not worried about him being here. I look forward to playing against United. Nothing worries me.
“I watched him at his press conference and he was pure van Gaal – honest and open, the way he always is.
“He is a very, very good coach, he’ll be great for Manchester United. We are both great coaches. It’s what we were born to do.
“Louis was the best coach in the World Cup and he is a good friend – really, a friend for life. I have deep respect for this man.
“He is in the best period of his career. With coaching, if you deal with winning and losing in the right way, you improve. He analyses every experience. He has got better and better.”