Louis van Gaal doesn’t exactly live fondly in the memories of Manchester United fans.
The Dutchman’s two-year tenure at Old Trafford was blighted by erratic transfer activity and punctuated with dire football. Anthony Martial and an FA Cup win are some of the few things for which LVG can be thanked.
Perhaps in accordance with the unrest, Van Gaal’s reign ended in far from amicable fashion.
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There’s no kind way to sack a manager, even less so just days after capturing silverware but the ex-Barcelona boss constructed a particularly feisty defence.
Van Gaal put pen to paper on a three-year deal when he inherited the reins from Ryan Giggs in 2014. However, the writing was on the wall 12 months early and with Jose Mourinho freshly available.
Ever since the Special One was sacked by Chelsea in December 2015, the rumour mill was running against Van Gaal.
Manchester United didn’t fancy hanging around with their planning either. You could argue the Dutchman, in his twilight months with United, was managing a club that just didn’t want him.
One doesn’t simply mess with Van Gaal, though.
And in a fiery interview with the Mirror this week, the 66-year-old produced a frosty recollection of his 2016 exit. It’s fair to say he didn’t go down without a fight.
Van Gaal explained: “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.
“I denied it, even to my wife, because between me as a manager and the chief executive Ed Woodward, everything was running as normal.”
It was how Van Gaal dealt with his contract being cut short, though, that marks the might of the man. Trust LVG to take on one of the world’s biggest clubs.
“They told me only after it was leaked out and it was the biggest disappointment of my life,” he explained.
“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.”
However savage that may be, it’s hard to see United regretting paying up. Jose Mourinho has, after all, accomplished more in 14 months than LVG ever looked like achieving in three years.
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