Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea says his relationship with manager Louis van Gaal is "normal", but not friendly.
De Gea was dropped from the first-team squad by Van Gaal before a proposed move to Real Madrid fell through.
"He is a hard and strong coach," the 25-year-old told ESPN. "With any coach, you have a lot of respect for him, but it is difficult to be their friend."
The Spaniard added he was "really happy" to have stayed at Old Trafford.
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De Gea almost joined Real on the final day of the summer transfer window, but the necessary paperwork was not submitted in time.
He then signed a new four-year contract at Old Trafford.
De Gea said: "I'm really happy now, at one of the biggest clubs in he world, where I feel loved by the fans.
"Nobody let me down or disappointed me - during the market anything can happen, it can all change inside a minute.
"There were difficult moments, strange moments, but they help you to mature. To be stronger."
De Gea praised Van Gaal's "aggressive" mentality - which he says the team try to replicate - and said their relationship has thawed since the summer.
"From outside, you see a person with a lot of character, which is what he is," he said.
"He is a good person. You can talk with him about anything you want, and face to face he is sincere. We have a normal relationship between a coach and player. We both want what is best for the club.
"From the first I day I came back, after all that happened, he gave me a lot of confidence, told me I would play, to relax and keep doing what I had done before."
De Gea also praised the reception he received from United supporters at his first match of the season, a 3-1 win over Liverpool.
"The first game I returned, after all that had happened, was impressive," he said. "The way Old Trafford received me, it made the hairs stand up."