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Louis van Gaal axed by Manchester United despite FA Cup success

Holly Thackeray | May 23, 2016

Louis van Gaal departs Manchester United post

Premier League giants Manchester United have parted ways with coach Louis van Gaal, following an FA Cup final victory against Crystal Palace, though despite the win there have been months of speculation about the Dutchman’s job.

Former Ajax, Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss Van Gaal was appointed at Old Trafford in summer 2014 on a three-year deal, as a replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson’s ill-fated successor David Moyes, after guiding his impressive Netherlands squad to third spot in the 2014 World Cup.

Though, little of that Clockwork Orange fluidity, bravery and attacking intent has been seen at Man Utd, with fans reportedly growing weary of the slow, possession-based football on offer, which is viewed as far from the traditional Old Trafford way.

Official confirmation was expected from United in a statement at 13:00 BST, which coincides with the New York Stock Exchange opening, but this wasn’t released until around 20:30. The Red Devils are 6/1 shots with Coral to win next season’s Premier League.

“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),” United chairman Ed Woodward said.

“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.”

“Immensely proud”

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In a statement of his own, Van Gaal said: “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.”

Man Utd mishaps in Europe likely lead to axe

Missing out on the Premier League top four, having flopped at the Champions League group stages and also exited to bitter rivals Liverpool in the Europa League have all contributed to veteran manager Van Gaal’s reign ending a year early.

The 64-year-old has also been criticised for leaving United light up top after selling big names Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and Robin van Persie during his tenure, as well as spending vast amounts of money on unsuccessful transfers and loans.

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British record signing Angel Di Maria and expensive loanee Radamel Falcao both departed the Northwest giants last summer after disappointing single season stints, while Van Gaal’s former Netherlands charge Memphis Depay’s recent exclusion from the FA Cup final squad has sparked rumours the winger will be sold in summer.

Van Gaal’s protege at Barcelona and ex-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been heavily linked to taking over at Old Trafford, having left his Stamford Bridge post in December.

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