By Coral Barry
Missing out on Louis van Gaal two years ago has proved to be a bullet dodged for Tottenham.
Chairman Daniel Levy held talks with the Dutchman in the spring of 2014 before he finalised his move to Manchester United.
Weeks later, Spurs clinched an agreement with Mauricio Pochettino, who swapped Southampton for White Hart Lane, and it has proved to be one of the soundest decisions of Levy’s 15-year rein.
Van Gaal revealed on Sunday that he was delighted he chose Old Trafford over White Hart Lane – just a few moments after watching his side slump to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the club who once courted him.
Tottenham scored three goals in six minutes against a sterile United team that collapsed in the final 20 minutes and Van Gaal called suggestions he should have gone to Tottenham two years ago as ‘a little bit pathetic’.
“The challenge was bigger for me at Manchester United and shall always be bigger,” said Van Gaal speaking to BBC Sport after the game. “I’m sorry for Tottenham but Manchester United is a bigger club.
“I liked also to sign for Tottenham Hotspur and Daniel Levy knows that.
“It is a little bit pathetic you asked that [whether he regretted his choice] because they have won 3-0. It’s easy to ask that but okay, you enjoy yourself.”
Tottenham reignited their hunt for the Premier League trophy with the emphatic win while United added yet another forgettable afternoon to a very long list of season disappointments.
Spurs’ replacement of Tim Sherwood with Pochettino has turned out to be perhaps the most inspired decision of Levy’s long tenure as chairman.
The Argentine has gone on to transform Tottenham into title contenders and mentored the rise of England’s most exciting youngsters for years.
Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Harry Kane are among those who have emerged as Premier League stars and the Argentine is hoping he will have his first piece of silverware to show for his efforts come the end of the season.
United, however, have gone from being virtually nailed-on title contenders to being relieved at making top four under Van Gaal and that follows over £250million of expenditure on news players.
There is no doubt Tottenham will be desperate to hold onto Pochettino once the campaign is over while it is almost certain that Van Gaal will not see out his three-year United contract.
United are four points off the final Champions League spot with six league games left to play and a further 12 behind smaller club Tottenham.
In other Tottenham news, Graeme Souness has singled out one Spurs player destined for greatness.