Sports

May 232016
 
Manchester United’s FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace gave them a 12th success in the competition and a first since Sir Alex Ferguson led them to victory in 2004

Louis van Gaal has been sacked as manager of Manchester United, with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho set to be named as his replacement.

Van Gaal, 64, leaves after two years of a three-year contract and is currently discussing severance terms.

The former Netherlands boss is believed to earn around £6.4m a year.

Mourinho’s appointment is expected to be confirmed after the 53-year-old Portuguese meets with senior United officials on Tuesday.

It is not yet certain what future Ryan Giggs, Van Gaal’s assistant, has at Old Trafford or what will happen to the rest of the coaching team.

BBC Sport reported on Saturday that United’s FA Cup win over Crystal Palace would be Van Gaal’s last game in charge.

BBC sports editor Dan Roan reported on Saturday that Van Gaal’s sacking would be confirmed on Monday

He took control of United after leading the Netherlands to the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The Old Trafford club finished fourth in the Premier League in his first season in charge to qualify for the Champions League.

But they finished fifth this term and will play in the Europa League next season.

They only scored 49 league goals, too, their lowest total since 1989-90.

Saturday’s FA Cup success at Wembley gave United a first trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson delivered the Premier League title in 2013 in his last season before retirement, but it was not enough to stop Van Gaal from losing his job.

Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea last December, just seven months after leading the London club to the Premier League title.

Jose Mourinho won the Premier League with Chelsea in 2005, 2006 and 2015

Analysis

BBC Sports editor Dan Roan:

“In April 2014, United’s mishandling of the sacking of Moyes was heavily criticised, the coach humiliated when learning of his demise through the media.

“The club’s hierachy accepted it was wrong that news had leaked out before the manager had been informed. But two years on, it has happened again.

“Van Gaal was apparently informed of his impending departure by his wife when – still at Wembley following the club’s FA Cup Final win – she read the news on the BBC website on Saturday evening.

“United hold the Dutchman in high regard and had desperately tried to maintain secrecy during their negotiations with Mourinho, hoping Van Gaal would lead his team to a top-four spot in the Premier League.

“Even after that target was missed, the club wanted him to be able to enjoy his FA Cup win, never once briefing against their coach or adding to the speculation. But it was always naive to think that news of their plans would remain secret.

“Once the news broke on Saturday, it was hard to fathom why they waited to put Van Gaal out of his misery. Once again serious questions will be asked about the way the Glazer regime runs the club – and the way it communicates.”

How do the stats shape up?

  • Manchester United scored 49 Premier League goals this season – one more than Blackburn scored when they were relegated in 2012
  • For the second consecutive season, United ended up with a negative goal difference away from home
  • Went 11 home games without scoring a first-half goal earlier this season
  • They conceded the joint fewest goals in the league – 35 – along with Tottenham
  • The team made 3,222 backwards passes – the most in the league
  • Van Gaal used 33 players over the season – the second highest number after Liverpool (34)
  • Man Utd topped the clean sheet record table alongside Arsenal with 18

What is his legacy?

Van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford with his reputation enhanced after steering the Netherlands to the 2014 World Cup semi-finals.

The experience he gained while managing Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich also suggested he had the necessary clout and ego to succeed at United, in contrast to predecessor Moyes, who had been in charge at Preston and Everton before taking over when Ferguson retired.

After a solid first season, Van Gaal was expected to turn United into title contenders, especially after taking the club’s outlay on players to more than £250m since the summer of 2014.

His record in the transfer market has been hit and miss. Angel di Maria – a British record signing at £59.7m – faded after a fast start and was sold, while Radamel Falcao delivered little after his loan move from Monaco.

The summer of 2015 has hardly proved a success either, with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin, who reportedly cost United a combined total of around £40m, failing to add dynamism to midfield.

This campaign has also been undermined by injuries, with Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rojo, Schweinsteiger, Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Phil Jones and Ashley Young all missing significant parts of the season.

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Louis van Gaal: Man Utd boss’s funniest quotes

What did his critics say?

A number of significant former United players have taken issue with the style of play under Van Gaal, claiming his tactics are negative and players are afraid to express themselves.

“Manchester United are going backwards again and I don’t see that changing because the manager will not change [his tactics],” said Rio Ferdinand, the England defender signed for a then British record £30m in 2002.

Steve Coppell, who starred for United in the 1970s and 80s, said it was hard to understand Van Gaal’s philosophy, claiming “players sometimes do not really understand what he’s trying to get through to them”.

Former midfielder Paul Scholes – a member of the club’s legendary ‘Class of ’92’ – was one of the Dutchman’s harshest critics.

“It seems he doesn’t want players to beat men and score goals,” he said. “It’s not a team I would have enjoyed playing in. “There’s no spirit, there’s nobody having a go at each other, there’s no smiling, there’s no entertainment.”

Van Gaal had previously won league titles with Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich
Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal were briefly together at Barcelona in 1998/99
Van Gaal was in charge of United for 103 games, winning 54, drawing 25 and losing 24
Manchester United’s FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace gave them a 12th success in the competition and a first since Sir Alex Ferguson led them to victory in 2004
Manchester United went out of the 2015/16 Champions League when they lost at Wolfsburg last December
Losing 3-2 at West Ham in United’s penultimate Premier League game all but ended their Champions League qualification hopes

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May 232016
 

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Defiant Van Gaal ‘proud’ of Man Utd Cup triumph

Louis van Gaal said goodbye to members of Manchester United’s staff on Sunday without knowing if he was bidding farewell for the final time.

The BBC understands that Saturday’s FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace was Van Gaal’s last game as manager.

It is believed that by the time they arrived back in the north-west, neither the Dutchman nor his coaching staff had been told what was happening by United.

The club is set to appoint Jose Mourinho as manager later this week.

Before he left London, Van Gaal told some staff he did not know if he would see them again, although the 64-year-old said later he still “hoped” to be in charge for the final year of his three-year contract.

Van Gaal said “it’s over” when a reporter approached him as he left the hotel on Sunday – but he is said to have been referring to his side’s season rather than his own job.

Other members of Van Gaal’s Old Trafford staff are believed to be unhappy at the lack of communication from the club’s hierarchy.

United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, as well as Joel and Avie Glazer, part of the American family who own the Premier League club, were at Wembley on Saturday – but they are not thought to have spoken to Van Gaal at a function following the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.

As the reports about Van Gaal’s impending departure grew in volume, the function is said to have been a sombre affair.

Neither Van Gaal nor Woodward addressed staff collectively in the wake of the club’s first triumph since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.

In the past, Ferguson or former chief executive David Gill would have expressed their gratitude for the hard work involved in winning a major prize.

The silence must end soon as, with United failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League under Van Gaal, the Old Trafford hierarchy is thought to have decided a change is required.

Louis van Gaal was not in the mood for a a conversation leaving Manchester United’s London hotel on Sunday

BBC Sport revealed on Saturday that United are set to appoint Mourinho as the former Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Netherlands manager’s replacement.

Mourinho is preparing to hold direct talks with senior United officials on Tuesday. Assuming final details can be agreed, an announcement and formal unveiling could happen quickly.

His agent Jorge Mendes is currently on a business trip in Shanghai but will leave to return to Europe on Monday.

The Portuguese, 53, was sacked by Chelsea in December, seven months after the Stamford Bridge club won the Premier League title.

Mourinho, who won three league titles in two spells at Chelsea, has been out of work since.

He was at heavyweight boxer David Haye’s win in London on Saturday evening but repeatedly declined to comment on whether he was about to succeed Van Gaal.

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May 232016
 
Jamie Vardy has now scored in the last three England internationals.

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy will miss England’s friendly against Australia on Friday – because he is getting married just two days before.

The 29-year-old postponed his wedding last year and then moved it