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Van Gaal sacked by Manchester United

Louis van Gaal has been sacked as Manchester United manager after two years in charge.

The former Netherlands boss arrived at the club’s training ground in Carrington shortly before 0900GMT and was informed that his contract would be terminated a year early.

United later confirmed the news in a statement, more than three hours after Van Gaal had left their base.

Executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said: “I would like to thank Louis and his staff for their excellent work in the past two years culminating in winning a record-equalling 12th FA Cup for the club (and securing him a title in four different countries).

“He has behaved with great professionalism and dignity throughout his time here. He leaves us with a legacy of having given several young players the confidence to show their ability on the highest stage. Everyone at the club wishes him all the best in the future.”

Speculation has long persisted that Van Gaal will be replaced, with United having missed out on Champions League qualification during a season in which their style of football has faced heavy criticism.

Van Gaal was appointed on a three-year deal to succeed David Moyes in 2014 but failed to deliver consistent results despite significant investment in the playing squad, and he lifted his only piece of silverware on Saturday as United beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final.

The Dutchman said in a 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 would also like to express my gratitude to the amazing United supporters. They are truly the best fans in the world.”

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is expected to be named as his replacement this week.

Van Gaal’s time at United will be viewed with little fondness by the majority of the club’s supporters.

The Dutchman arrived on the back of guiding his country to a third-placed finish in the 2014 World Cup and with a glittering CV, having won league titles in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany, but he fell well short of winning the Premier League.

Having spent upwards of £140million on the likes of Angel Di Maria, Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera shortly after taking the job, the tone was set in his first Premier League game in charge, a 2-1 defeat at home to Swansea City.

Draws at Sunderland and Burnley followed, either side of a 4-0 thumping at MK Dons in the League Cup. His first win came in a 4-0 defeat of QPR, although any momentum was immediately halted by a 5-3 loss at Leicester City.

Six successive league wins steadied the ship prior to Christmas and, although a title challenge never materialised with Mourinho’s Chelsea running away with it, United finished fourth to secure a place back in the Champions League having missed out the season before under Moyes.

Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Anthony Martial were signed by Van Gaal prior to the 2015-16 season and they seemed to have the desired effect as United started strongly.

However, a run of six games in November and December without a win derailed their league campaign while a 3-2 defeat to Wolfsburg ended their Champions League challenge at the group stage and saw them slip into the Europa League.

They lost to Liverpool at the last-16 stage to increase the pressure on Van Gaal, though Saturday’s 2-1 win over Palace did at least see him end his United career on a high as they lifted the FA Cup for the first time in 12 years.

Mon 23 May, 2016
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