9 September 2017
Louis van Gaal has broken his silence about the controversial manner in which he was sacked by Man United after winning the FA Cup in 2016. He was pushed out in favour of Jose Mourinho after months of speculation.
Mourinho had been sacked by Chelsea the previous December after a disastrous start to their title defence. Already under pressure to bring the good times back to Old Trafford, Van Gaal felt the heat.
Speaking to the Mirror, Van Gaal said: “United put my head in a noose and I was publicly placed on the gallows.
“The pressure was enormous with my head in the noose and they went right behind my back. I think it was all orchestrated like a film and it was done very much behind my back right from January.
“My wife, Truus, told me that the board’s attitude had changed. Women have this intuition. They smell it. I denied it, even to my wife, because between me as a coach and the CEO Ed Woodward, everything was running as normal.”
The process appeared to gather momentum thanks to the opinions of high-profile critics. United greats like Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand felt that Van Gaal was incompatible with United. A lot of fans felt the same way.
“Suddenly former players started to yap in the media that we were playing boring football and Mourinho’s sacking made it very attractive for everyone to keep bashing me,” Van Gaal continues.
“I do understand that choice of United to get Mourinho. I never wanted more than two years anyway. United wanted three years. Suddenly, he was out after one-and-a-half years of my contract and I knew United wanted him one day.
“They told me only after it was leaked out and it was the biggest disappointment of my life. United did not discuss this with me. If they had come to me with the Mourinho plan then I could have said ‘okay, let’s give it everything for the last six months, complete commitment to each other and the team and then Jose Mourinho can take over. They could have saved the last year of my salary by doing that but after what happened I made them pay every penny.”
While United fans didn’t like Van Gaal’s style of football and often bizarre tactics, they were fond of the man himself. He has a reputation for being difficult to work with but Van Gaal endears himself to fans.
His eccentric behaviour secures his place in United history as much as his FA Cup win.