After a disappointing season when they could only manage fifth in the Premier League, Manchester United have discarded coach Louis van Gaal with a year left on his contract. A successor was to be named “soon.”
Manchester United have sacked coach Louis van Gaal two days after he led them to a first FA Cup triumph in 12 years, the English Premier League side announced on Monday.
“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’s executive vice 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. Everyone at the club wishes him all the best in the future.”
The curt club statement simply said that the Dutch manager’s successor would be “announced soon.” Portuguese star Jose Mourinho has been repeatedly linked with the post since losing the Chelsea job, while United legend Ryan Giggs waits in the wings as assistant manager.
Although van Gaal secured the domestic cup thanks to Saturday’s extra-time victory over Crystal Palace, he failed to restore United to their former glory during his two seasons in charge.
“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,” van Gaal said in a statement posted on the club website. “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.”
United last won the Premier League in 2013 and their most recent success in Europe’s elite club competition came in 2008.
The outspoken Dutchman van Gaal, 64, made his name as a coach at Ajax, with whom he won the Champions League in 1995. He twice coached Barcelona and the Netherlands, as well as German powerhouse Bayern Munich.
“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,” van Gaal said. “I look forward to watching the continued development of these young players next season.”
United finished fifth in the Premier League this past season and qualified for the Europa League, a disappointing outcome for the ambitious three-time European champions and their American owners.