Manchester United have started off the current Premier League season in blistering form.
Jose Mourinho, it seems, is in the process of turning the club’s fortunes around and making this side genuine title contenders this season with big name signings like Nemanja Matic, Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku all adding to the allure now surrounding the north-west club.
However, prior to his arrival all was not so rosy behind the scenes and now former boss Louis van Gaal has come out publicly for the first time to discuss how he was allegedly mistreated in the final months of his stint with the Red Devils.
Speaking to The Mirror, Van Gaal began by comparing his dismissal following United’s 2016 FA Cup final victory to that of a medieval public shaming.
“United put my head in a noose and I was publicly placed on the gallows. 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.”
By January of 2016 United were hovering just below the top four places and the board were understandably becoming worried about a repeat of David Moyes’ calamitous opening season.
However, the 66-year-old explains that United’s failure to make it known to him of their affection for Jose Mourinho meant that it cost them in the end, with Van Gaal making the club pay out the remainder of his contract after news of the Portuguese’s arrival was leaked.
“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.
“United did not discuss this with me. If they had come to me with the Mourinho plan then I could have said ‘okay, let’s give it everything for the last six months, complete commitment to each other and the team and then Jose Mourinho can take over.’
“They could have saved the last year of my salary by doing that but after what happened I made them pay every penny.”
This fascinating insight into what Van Gaal alleges happened in the final few months of his contract show just how cut-throat the game is at this level and also perhaps just the type of pressure Mourinho is under to perform at present.
So far, however, the former Chelsea boss has consistently reached his goals, firstly qualifying for the Champions League and now setting the pace for others to follow this season in the Premier League.
Van Gaal meanwhile is currently on sabbatical with no concrete news as of yet over what his next move will be.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena