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Wayne Rooney reveals Louis Van Gaal’s sadness over imminent sacking following 2016 FA Cup win

Wayne Rooney

“He was in the corner with his wife and he was really quiet.”

Former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney talked about the despondent behaviour of former manager Louis van Gaal following their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in the 2016 FA Cup final.

While the club should have been celebrating their first major trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure three years ago, the mood among the staff was tense over van Gaal’s imminent sacking.

Louis van Gaal

Manchester United faced off against Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace at Wembley for the FA Cup crown and came away with a victory thanks to goals from Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard.

The celebratory champagne that flowed in the aftermath of the trophy ceremony soon took on a new meaning as leaving drinks for Van Gaal, rather than a toast for some much-needed silverware.

For the Dutch veteran, the FA Cup was a trophy that he personally admired and aspired to win.

Wayne Rooney

The showpiece Wembley final was one of the few English games televised overseas, so Van Gaal was quickly captivated by the history and tradition of the famous trophy from a young age.

The Cup victory was the crowning moment in the Dutchman’s United tenure but the win was overshadowed by breaking reports that he was set to be replaced as manager hardly before he had a chance to lift the cup and pose for photos.

Two days later, the news was confirmed by the club as the former Barcelona manager was replaced by serial winner Jose Mourinho.

van Gaal

Van Gaal later revealed his “pride” at being the first manager to win silverware for the club since Ferguson retired in his final post-match press conference.

Having witnessed the events within the dressing room for himself, former striker and United legend Rooney revealed how Van Gaal reacted following the win.

“We were very aware of it,” Rooney told the UTD podcast when reflecting on the Dutchman’s inevitable dismissal.

“You could see he was upset.

Louis van Gaal

“I actually went and pulled him for a chat in the party we had afterwards.

“He was in the corner with his wife and he was really quiet.”

The club record goalscorer also revealed that while the players managed to enjoy their evening, van Gaal remained distracted by his impending sacking despite a rallying call for him to reflect on what he had accomplished at the club.

A year on from his departure, the former Ajax coach insisted that the FA Cup was the biggest trophy he won in his career.

“The last six months at United, the circumstances, were so difficult,” he reflected.

“That is why the trophy I won, the FA Cup, I consider the biggest trophy in my career.

“Going to the absolute climax of the FA Cup final, ending with ten men and having to score to win in extra-time.

“Having gone through all that, and then walking away with the trophy was incredible for me.”

 

 

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