Mind games surrounding United games tend to involve Reds manager Sir Alex Ferguson. But at the Allianz Arena on Monday afternoon, van Gaal embarked on his own attempt at reverse psychology.
“We are playing against a level-one team and Bayern are not yet at that level,” he said of the four-times European champions. “The difference is that United show level-one form on a consistent basis.
“I know the organisation within United is very good. I am jealous of this organisation. If we had it at Bayern, we would be one step further.”
On Tuesday morning, Sir Alex spoke to MUTV. When asked about van Gaal’s comments, the boss smiled wryly before answering: “I’ve done that sort of thing myself over the years. But I don’t think he’s trying to kid us… he surely knows I won’t fall for it! We won’t be complacent.”
The Reds haven’t been beaten on the road in Europe since May 2007 (16 games) and have lost just once in the last 14 fixtures in all competitions.
“We’re going into the game in the right form and that’s important,” Sir Alex said. “The team’s come together very well and defensively we’re looking really good – that pleases me more than anything.”
Watch the full interview with Sir Alex tonight on MUTV’s Matchday Live (18:30 BST).