Former Manchester United defender Jonny Evans has said his former boss Louis van Gaal is a ‘fantastic coach’, per the Independent.

The Northern Ireland international was speaking ahead of United’s meeting with West Brom at the weekend, the side Evans was sold to last summer.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Sport

Despite having a difficult season under Van Gaal’s stewardship, Evans spoke positively of the Dutchman:

Louis van Gaal is a fantastic coach and there is a lot of stuff I really liked under him. I feel fortunate that I have had the chance to work with him because I do think that myself, and every other player there, will have learned something from him.

Evans managed just 14 Premier League appearances with United last season but believes that Van Gaal had a positive impact on him as a player:

Even though I wasn’t playing, I appreciated the stuff he was doing and I think he gave me a fair crack of the whip. Whenever I had the chance to play, I didn’t perform to my best and I didn’t believe that my performances warranted me getting back in the team. I can be honest about that. I can look at myself and analyse my performances.

The United youth academy product had not been performing at his best after Van Gaal became manager though, but Evans said that wasn’t down to the manager:

I don’t think it was a case of not believing in my ability, that I couldn’t reach those performances I needed to, but if I am honest about that time, maybe I didn’t. But I don’t have any regrets about leaving when I did.

It is also exactly one year since Evans was involved in a spitting dispute with Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse whilst playing for the Reds, but the defender refused to blame the incident for his United exit and said he had already envisaged his imminent departure.

Stu Forster/Getty Images Sport

United will face Evans’ West Brom at the Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon, although the Northern Irishman is unlikely to play because of injury.