Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal concedes defeat, telling Sky Sports "it's over" after it was reported Jose Mourinho will replace him.

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is expected to be announced as Manchester United’s new manager today.

Sky News have reported that Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal has told them,  "it's over" after it was reported Jose Mourinho would be replacing him.

Manchester United and Mourinho have both declined to comment.

But Van Gaal seemed to admit that the 2-1 FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace on Saturday would be his final game in charge as he left the team's hotel this morning.

The Dutchman said simply "it's over" after a Sky reporter wished him "good luck".

His future looked uncertain yesterday given the club missed out on Champions League qualification this season, with a fifth-place finish meaning United will play in the Europa League next term despite spending over £250m on new players during Van Gaal’s two-year reign.

Van Gaal still has one year remaining on his current contract, but now seems unlikely to complete it.

United failed to make it out of their Champions League group this season and suffered a Europa League last-16 exit at the hands of rivals Liverpool, who made it to Wednesday’s final before succumbing 3-1 to Sevilla. With Manchester City beating them to fourth and winning the Capital One Cup, United face being overshadowed by their fierce rivals once again, though victory in the FA Cup final can go a long way to reducing that impact.

The report in AS claims that talks between Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes, and United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, concluded during the week, with Mourinho signing a pre-contract to replace Van Gaal for the 2016/17 season.

The former Chelsea manager declared earlier this month that he will be in a new job for the start of the season, but rejected suggestions that he had already signed a deal with United or any other club – with Paris Saint-Germain being heavily linked.

It’s believed that Mourinho will earn up to €15m [£11.6m] each season in wages, and he will be given the same transfer budget that Van Gaal was empowered with to overhaul United’s squad given their failures this season, with concerns over all three area in defence, midfield and attack.

However, the appointment would likely lead to goalkeeper David De Gea remaining with the club for at least another season, giving Mourinho on less concern should he take the job.

Any appointment would see Woodward go against his stance of staying loyal to Van Gaal, something that the executive vice-chairman has been determined to commit to even when the Dutchman offered his resignation back in December.

Despite a late-season surge, United’s failure to finish inside the top four could prove to be the final nail in the coffin though, and the frosty reception that Van Gaal received when giving his end-of-season speech on Tuesday night following the 3-1 win over Bournemouth demonstrated the unhappiness that United fans feel over his tenure.

Van Gaal’s transfer policy has been criticised given that he has been forced to deploy 18-year-old striker Marcus Rashford as a last resort rather than a tactical masterstroke. His failure to sign a recognised striker last summer led to Rashford being thrown in at the deep end, with Van Gaal’s one success in the transfer market proving to be Anthony Martial – who remains a wide forward as opposed to the lead striker United are clearly lacking.


Independent News Service


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