Man United sack Van Gaal
MANCHESTER, England (AP):
Louis van Gaal was fired by Manchester United yesterday after months of uncertainty around his position as the English Premier League team struggled despite more than $350 million spent on new players during his two years in charge.
United are now set to make JosE Mourinho their third manager in the three years since Alex Ferguson's trophy-laden 26-year dynasty ended. The record 20-time English champions said their "decision on a successor as manager will be announced soon" while giving no names.
Delivering United's first trophy - an FA Cup victory on Saturday - since Ferguson retired in 2013 was not enough to save van Gaal. The 64-year-old paid the price for failing to qualify England's biggest club for next season's Champions League, with United finishing fifth in the Premier League.
"I am very disappointed to be unable to complete our intended three-year plan," van Gaal said. "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."
Van Gaal had a year left on his contract and he could now be heading into retirement. Van Gaal has also coached Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and the Netherlands in a stellar coaching career.
"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," van Gaal said. "Both of these experiences have lived up to expectations and been fantastic."
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward praised van Gaal for behaving with "great professionalism and dignity" in the two years since he replaced David Moyes, Ferguson's immediate successor.
"(Van Gaal) leaves us with a legacy of having given several young players the confidence to show their ability on the highest stage," Woodward said.
But van Gaal's turbulent tenure has been marred by accusations from critics that he betrayed United's heritage by playing a defensive, risk-averse style. However, he has been praised by many for continuing the club's long-held policy of giving young players a chance, including Jesse Lingard the scorer of the winning goal in the FA Cup final.