Van Gaal: 'United put my head in a noose' after Mourinho became available

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Reuters / Andrew Yates Livepic

Louis van Gaal didn't pull any punches when criticising the manner in which he was relieved of his duties as Manchester United manager during his first interview since he was sacked in 2016.

It was less than 24 hours after hoisting the FA Cup following United's triumph over Crystal Palace that the Dutchman was informed of the team's decision to go in a different direction.

After refusing to discuss the matter in the months following his dismissal, Van Gaal revealed to the Mirror's Simon Mullock the disgust he felt over the team's pursuit of Jose Mourinho in the months after the Portuguese gaffer was sacked by Chelsea in December 2015, comparing the situation to a well orchestrated public execution.

"United put my head in a noose and I was publicly placed on the gallows," Van Gaal said.

"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."

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

The former Ajax and Netherlands manager succeeded David Moyes after accepting a three-year offer from United chief executive Ed Woodward, who Van Gaal believed was loyal to his cause until reports of the team's interest in Mourinho was "leaked" to the media. Former players such as Gary Neville and Paul Scholes criticising the team's perceived mundane style only added to the unrest.

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"Suddenly former players started to yap in the media that we were playing boring football and Mourinho's sacking made it very attractive for everyone to keep bashing me," Van Gaal said.

"I do understand that choice of United to get Mourinho. I never wanted more than two years anyway. Man United wanted three years.

"Suddenly, Mourinho was out after one-and-a-half years of my contract and I knew United wanted him one day.

"They told me only after it was leaked out and it was the biggest disappointment of my life."

Van Gaal hinted that he may have sacrificed the final year of his salaray had United been honest with him over its interest in Mourinho. Instead, he "made them pay every penny."