Manchester United finally confirmed the sacking of manager Louis van Gaal two days after he lifted the FA Cup at Wembley after hours of silence on Monday during which speculation has raged over the imminent appointment of former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
Van Gaal will be remembered for promoting youth talent such as Marcus Rashford and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson as well as Jesse Lingard, who scored the extra-time winning goal in the FA Cup last Saturday.
However, fan disquiet over the quality of the football at Old Trafford, and lack of the classic buccaneering United spirit, had grown throughout a season which ended with the Reds scoring just 49 goals in the Premier League.
That was a record low total for United in the Premier League and one not seen in the league since the 1989/1990 season which almost saw Sir Alex Ferguson get the sack.
Winning the FA Cup saved the Scot who went on to create a legacy including 38 trophies in 26 years.
There was to be no such patience for Van Gaal who departed with dignity today and if, as expected, United’s Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward appoints Jose Mourinho to succeed Van Gaal, it will be with the expectation of a return to attacking football, Champions League qualification as a minimum and silverware.
Louis Van Gaal’s Statement
“It has been an honour to manage such a magnificent club as Manchester United FC, and in doing so, I have fulfilled a long-held ambition.
“I am immensely proud to have helped United win the FA Cup for the 12th time in the club’s history. I have been privileged during my management career to have won 20 trophies but winning the FA Cup, which is steeped in so much history, will always be one of the most special achievements of my career.
“I am very disappointed to be unable to complete our intended three-year plan. I believe that the foundations are firmly in place to enable the club to move forward and achieve even greater success.
“I hope that winning the FA Cup will give the club a platform to build upon next season to restore the success that this passionate set of fans desire.
“Having managed in Holland, Spain and Germany, I had always hoped for the opportunity to manage in English football and be part of English culture. Both of these experiences have lived up to expectations and been fantastic.
“I thank my players and wish them well for next season. It has been a pleasure to work with them and it has been particularly rewarding to see so many young players take their chance to break into the first team and excel. I look forward to watching the continued development of these young players next season.
“Thank you to the owners and board of Manchester United for giving me the opportunity to manage this great club.
“I would also like to express my gratitude to the amazing United supporters. They are truly the best fans in the world.
“I am indebted to my support and coaching staff, who have given me their all during their time at the club.
“I am deeply grateful to each and every member of the club’s staff – the sports science team, the medical team, the kit and laundry department, club administration, the press office, the manager’s team, the Academy team, ground staff and the catering team, both at Old Trafford stadium and Carrington training ground, all of whom have given me their unwavering support in my time at United. Never in my 25 years as a manager have I been so well supported in my role.
“Finally, my special thanks go to Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton for always making me and my family feel so welcome throughout my time as Manchester United manager.”