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Louis Van Gaal sacked: Manchester United fire Dutchman as Jose Mourinho waits in the wings to take over

Published 23/05/2016

Louis van Gaal has overseen some poor results during his time at United
Louis van Gaal has overseen some poor results during his time at United

Louis van Gaal's turbulent reign at Manchester United is over, with Monday's belated confirmation paving the way for Jose Mourinho to return to management.

Saturday's FA Cup triumph could not disguise a disappointing campaign in terms of style and substance at Old Trafford, with United failing to qualify for the Champions League.

Van Gaal has paid with his job as United put the divisive Dutchman out of his misery on Monday evening, two seasons into a three-year deal.

Van Gaal's backroom team of Albert Stuivenberg, his assistant, Frank Hoek, his goalkeeping coach, and Max Reckers, one of the club's performance analysts, have also lost their jobs.

Assistant Ryan Giggs has retained his position.

 

"Louis van Gaal is to leave Manchester United, with immediate effect," confirmed United in a statement.

United's statement added "a decision on a successor as manager will be announced soon" as executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward paid tribute to Van Gaal.

Jose Mourinho's best moments: Would you like me to lapdance for you?
Jose Mourinho made an appearance on Italian television show Chiambretti Night, shortly after his move to Italy. As England manager Fabio Capello once found out, part of the show involves a private dance from a scantily clad woman. Mourinho appeared to find it difficult to stay awake for the performance.
Jose Mourinho's best moments: Would you like me to lapdance for you? Jose Mourinho made an appearance on Italian television show Chiambretti Night, shortly after his move to Italy. As England manager Fabio Capello once found out, part of the show involves a private dance from a scantily clad woman. Mourinho appeared to find it difficult to stay awake for the performance.
Mourinho announces his arrival
Mourinho's first press conference in England, staged to announce his appointment as Chelsea manager, was to both start the trend of things to come and lay the foundations for his legend:
'Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one.'
Time to celebrate Before Mourinho was appointed as manager of Chelsea, many English fans were already aware of his existence - especially Manchester United fans. In charge of Porto, his team came to Old Trafford and beat the odds by knocking United out of the Champions League thanks to a last minute goal. As Costinha bundled the ball home, Mourinho set off on a wild run down the Old Trafford touchline to celebrate.
Le Professor? Non. Le Voyeur 'I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur,' Mourinho famously said of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in October 2005. 'He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea.'
Winning the title After Mourinho's assertion that he was the 'Special One', the Portuguese wasted no time in proving the doubters wrong. In his first season as Chelsea boss, he led the club to their first league title in 50 years. He would go on to win the league title again the following season as well as the FA Cup, two League Cups and one Community Shield during his time in charge.
Omelettes and eggs 'It is omelettes and eggs. No eggs - no omelettes! It depends on the quality of the eggs.' Mourinho was explaining in his own special way the issue of money drying up at Stamford Bridge. He continued: 'In the supermarket you have class one, two or class three eggs and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem.'
Terrier threat Mourinho was arrested and cautioned in 2007 after allegedly refusing to allow police to quarantine his pet dog. He reportedly rushed home from an awards ceremony after he was tipped off by his wife about what was going on. Upon returning home, eyewitnesses claimed he freed the animal from the health officials, rushed out into the street and encouraged his pet to run off. He then told them, 'I've sent my dog to St Tropez.'
Pressure ....We're told that football managers are under constant pressure. But Mourinho didn't agree: Pressure? There is no pressure. Bird Flu is pressure. (The press laugh) No, you laugh, but I am being serious. I am more worried about the swan then I am about football.
Out with the laundry This story is unproven, but the audacity of it if it is true makes it worth recounting. Mourinho was banned by Uefa from having any contact with his Chelsea players during the 2005 Champions League quarter-finals. To get around this, it's alleged that Mourinho sneaked into the ground early and gave both the pre-game and half-time team-talks. While the game was in play, Mourinho watched from the dressing room and relayed instructions to assistant Rui Faria, who it's suggested was wearing an earpiece - covered by a suspiciously large hat (pictured). After the game Mourinho was reportedly wheeled out of the stadium in a laundry basket.
On the bus Following a 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, Mourinho quipped:
'As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and they left the bus in front of the goal.'
Sssshhhh... Mourinho bagged his first trophy for Chelsea with a Carling Cup triumph over Liverpool. But at the time almost as much was made of his gesture to Liverpool fans as was Chelsea's 3-2 win. When Steven Gerrard scored a late own-goal to send the match into extra-time, Mourinho turned to the Liverpool fans, who had been barracking him all game, and put his finger to his lips as if to suggest 'be quiet'. Mourinho later claimed he was gesturing towards the press - but no-one believed him.
Rijkaard and the ref 'When I saw Rijkaard entering the referee's dressing room I couldn't believe it. When Drogba was sent off I didn't get surprised.'
This quote from Mourinho caused a storm. The Chelsea boss was suggesting that Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard had paid a visit to the dressing room of referee Anders Frisk during half-time of their Champions League encounter. It was a hugely damaging statement that led to a two match ban for Mourinho, saw him labelled the 'enemy of football' by Uefa's head of referees, and led to the retirement of Frisk who was receiving death threats following the match.
Melons Mourinho apparently liked using food as an analogy for his thoughts, as he proved when discussing his youth players at Chelsea:
'Young players are a little bit like melons. Only when you open and taste the melon are you 100 per cent sure that the melon is good. Sometimes you have beautiful melons but they don't taste very good and some other melons are a bit ugly and when you open them, the taste is fantastic. For example, Scott Sinclair, the way he played against Arsenal and Man United, we know the melon we have.'
Chin up
An enduring image of Mourinho was his gesture to Chelsea fans that they keep their 'chin up' following a draw to Arsenal that ended their hopes of another league title. His strength in the face of defeat was another feather in his bow.
It's the president When Mourinho when asked by a Ghanaian journalist if he ever phoned Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to see how he was, the Portuguese replied:
'Would you phone the president of Ghana?'
Bonjourno Mourinho showed no signs of letting up after his move to Italy. Much like his introduction to England, he captivated the press at the first opportunity. In his opening press conference he spoke fluent Italian (something he claimed to have learned in three-weeks 'because I'm very intelligent'). And following one awkward question, Mourinho paused before delivering a classic piece of Milanese slang: 'Non sono un pirla' - 'I'm not a d**khead'. The room exploded in laughter and brought Mourinho his first round of applause on Italian soil.
Take him down Mourinho's popularity waned during his time in Italy, when his constant jibes at officials, managers and referees antagonised just about everyone in Italy, including his own fans. A notable episode involved the Special One performing a 'handcuffs' gesture after seeing Inter's Walter Samuel and Ivan Cordoba sent off and Samuel Eto'o booked in a match with Sampdoria. He received a three-game ban.
Leaving on a high Despite the mutual disharmony between Mourinho and Italy in general, after completing an unprecedented treble with Inter Milan last season, a shared respect was formed. Mourinho would leave Inter shortly after their Champions League triumph, declaring:
'My work here is done. I have been very happy at Inter but not in the world of Italian football because I don't like all the comments from presidents, coaches and papers. But I will always like Inter. I want to thank Italian football because I have become a better coach for it.'
Up to his old tricks Ahead of the first of Real Madrid's current four meetings with Barcelona, it was announced shortly before a press conference that Mourinho would not be answering questions. Instead, his assistant Aitor Karanka would be speaking. But then, rather bizarrely, Mourinho attended the press conference yet continued his silence. Journalists were furious and staged a mass walk-out.
The Premier League success is Jose Mourinho's third with the club
Jose Mourinho says his Premier League-winning side will have to be even better next season
Crowning moment: Jose Mourinho and Chelsea bid farewell to Didier Drogba after lifting the Premier League trophy
Shocking: Jose Mourinho has been left stunned by events at Chelsea this season
Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side are under pressure going into the clash with Liverpool
Eva Carneiro
A supporters wearing a Jose Mourinho mask waves from his seat ahead of the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on October 31, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Chelsea fans hold a banner to show their faith to Jose Mourinho prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on October 31, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Chelsea fans wearing Jose Mourinho, John Terry and Diego Costa masks are seen on the stand prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on October 31, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho watched as his side lost 3-1 to Liverpool
Out of form: Diego Costa was on the bench for Chelsea
Chelsea's assistant manager Steve Holland (left), Diego Costa and Kenedy (right) before the Barclays Premier League match at the White Hart Lane, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 29, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Tottenham. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa (top) passes Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho as he goes to warm up during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane in north London on November 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa (R) walks along the touch line during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane in north London on November 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (cenrtre) with assistants Rui Faria (left) and Steve Holland on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at The King Power Stadium, Leicester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 14, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Leicester. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's miserable season shows no sign of improving
Jose Mourinho has left Chelsea
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: A Stoke City fan wears a Jose Mourinho mask as he poses with a P45 for Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
Jose Mourinho

"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)," he 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."

Van Gaal has been treading on thin ice for much of the campaign but remained confident about his future when questioned, including after Saturday's 2-1 extra-time win against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final.

Fresh reports that he was to be replaced by Mourinho emanated before the celebrations had even subsided at Wembley, with speculation fuelled the following day when he told a reporter outside the team hotel that "it's over".

Van Gaal said "you will have to wait and see" when asked by another journalist whether he would still be in charge next season - something United confirmed would not be the case in a statement at 8.30pm on Monday.

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The outgoing manager released a 415-word statement expressing his immense pride to have managed the club, calling the FA Cup win one of the most special achievements in his career.

"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.

"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.

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"Thank you to the owners and board of Manchester United for giving me the opportunity to manage this great club.

"I would also like to express my gratitude to the amazing United supporters. They are truly the best fans in the world.

"I am indebted to my support and coaching staff, who have given me their all during their time at the club.

"I am deeply grateful to each and every member of the club's staff - the sports science team, the medical team, the kit and laundry department, club administration, the press office, the manager's team, the Academy team, ground staff and the catering team, both at Old Trafford stadium and Carrington training ground, all of whom have given me their unwavering support in my time at United. Never in my 25 years as a manager have I been so well supported in my role.

"Finally, my special thanks go to Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton for always making me and my family feel so welcome throughout my time as Manchester United manager."

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