Louis van Gaal has claimed that the way in which he was dismissed by Manchester United in 2016 served as the biggest disappointment of his life.
The Dutchman, following a positive first campaign, slowly but surely embittered supporters with a turgid, uninspiring style of football that led Man United to a fifth place finish in the Premier League.
He was dismissed a mere hours after guiding United to an FA Cup win over Crystal Palace and replaced by Jose Mourinho in June.
Speaking to Algemeen Dagblad, Van Gaal expressed his discontent at how the club suddenly dismissed him without any prior consultation.
“The pressure was enormous with my head in the noose and they went right behind my back. I think it was all orchestrated like a film and it was done very much behind my back right from January . United put my head in a noose and I was publicly placed on the gallows.
“United did not discuss this [the management change] with me. If they had come to me with the Mourinho plan then I could have said, ‘OK, let’s give it everything for the last six months, complete commitment to each other and the team and then Jose Mourinho can take over.’
“They could have saved the last year of my salary by doing that but after what happened I made them pay every penny.”
Even after nine months of lobotomising football, during which the life was slowly sucked out of supporters, one couldn’t help but feel as if the Dutchman was treated unfairly at the end.
His commitment to the cause was unwavering. The cause being pursued, however, was poisonous.
Van Gaal was, I think, something of a tortured genius – a man incapable of deviating from the framework of his obsolete methods and yet simultaneously unable to even settle on that. He ruthlessly changed things, making decisions that bemused everyone, perhaps even himself, and by May 2016 the board simply needed somebody with a clear, proven vision.