Adnan Januzaj has spoken of his difficult relationship with former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, and the Belgium international insists he will dedicate his first goal for new club Real Sociedad to his former boss.
Januzaj left United last month to join Real Sociedad in a deal believed to be worth around £9m after falling out of favour at Old Trafford.
The 22-year-old, who has signed a five-year deal with La Real, made his breakthrough at the United under David Moyes in 2013, making 38 appearances in all competitions. However, the winger started just seven Premier League games in Van Gaal’s first season, before joining Borussia Dortmund on loan.
After returning from Germany, Janzuaj made another three further substitute appearances under the Dutchman, before spending last season on loan at Sunderland.
But now the Belgium international is hoping to prove his critics, including Van Gaal, wrong during his time in Spain.
“If I score a goal I will dedicate it to Van Gaal,” Januzaj told AS. “I don’t want to talk about him but everyone knows how many problems I had with him. We didn’t have the best of rapports. It wasn’t easy, it’s very frustrating and difficult when you are in a situation like that.
“I didn’t have many possibilities to play. I spent a long time on the bench and that makes you lose confidence and minor injuries emerge.
“Many times I wouldn’t play as a starter and you struggle to shine without continuity. The coach would put me in positions that I didn’t know how to play in and I had little experience in. I hope that one day, I can shut up all those people that criticised me.”
Januzaj’s views on Van Gaal are in stark contrast to those of another of his former bosses – Jose Mourinho.
The Belgian spent only one pre-season under Mourinho, but holds nothing against the Portuguese manager.
“I have nothing bad to say about Mourinho,” he said. “I have no criticism of him as a coach. From the beginning he was fair.”
Real Sociedad started their La Liga campaign last weekend with a 3-2 victory away at Celta Vigo.
Januzaj missed out at Balaidos but could make his La Liga debut on Friday when Eusebio Sacristan’s side take on Villarreal at the Anoeta Stadium, live on Sky Sports Football (red button) and Sky Sports Mix.
Sociedad vs Villarreal
August 25, 2017, 7:10pm
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And he believes Real Sociedad is the best place to turn his career around.
“I want to prove that I’m a good player,” he said. “There have been comments made regarding my past performances and whether I could fulfil expectations that were placed on me.
“I’m young and I have the quality to play good football. I’m a player with a lot of experience compared to other players of my age. I’ve been able to play in big clubs, in very strong leagues, in the national team.
“What I want is to play football and here at La Real, I will be able to.”