Even when Louis Van Gaal finally won some silverware a black cloud that has seemingly followed the Dutchman’s managerial career at Manchester United remained. Minutes after winning the FA Cup a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace (their first trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson retired three years ago) Van Gaal’s job was coming to an end.
If reports are right Jose Mourinho former Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid manager will be the new manager at United in a matter of weeks. Mourinho’s name had been touted since his sacking at Chelsea in December but it was often felt that the talented coach just wasn’t the right fit for the club. From loaning out young academy players to never having built a new team or legacy at any of the clubs he has managed he does seem the polar opposite to United’s traditions, add to that a man who stays on average 3 years maximum at a club and the choice may seem a little odd for the Red Devils.
Despite that though there is no denying Mourinho’s record as a manager. In 16 years of management he has won 22 trophies including 2 Champions League titles. Indeed it is the fact that Van Gaal failed to qualify for next seasons Champions League which has most probably cost him his job.
Van Gaal’s time at United will mostly be remembered for the manager failing to use the right line ups and blowing near to £200m on players that rarely changed the playing style of a club that desperately needed it. It is no secret that the players found it hard to warm to Van Gaal’s tactics and his stubbornness and leadership qualities were tested. And yet it wasn’t all failure. After all an FA Cup win is still a trophy. But one could well argue that a cup win for Crystal Palace the losing team on Saturday would have meant much more than it does to United who, in hindsight, will look at the cup as a consolation prize.
Van Gaal’s legacy even more than winning the FA Cup will be that he gave some of the youngsters a try. One notable choice was selecting Marcus Rashford who has been superb this season, if the player can get time under Mourinho who could be quite a find, but will Mourinho accept a youngster in his squad over a world renowned striker with a reputation? He hasn’t done in the past, and this could be a worry for the United faithful, only time will tell.
As for Van Gaal he had one more year on his contract and the plan was to retire from the game. He could ride out into the sunset with the FA Cup but then again a sacking if it indeed likely comes seems like a blunt way to end such a prestigious career. Perhaps for one season only the Erdevisie Dutch League will come calling to gracefully give Van Gaal the retirement he deserves.