While there was a certain air of inevitability about Louis van Gaal’s departure from Manchester United, the intense speculation which dogged the manager during the last few months of his reign has left a bitter taste for many of his supporters.
Rumours that Jose Mourinho is inbound at Old Trafford have persisted ever since the Portuguese parted ways with Chelsea in December, and it appears an announcement is now close.
Ronald de Boer knows Van Gaal better than most, having played under the 64-year-old at Ajax and Barcelona, and the former Rangers midfielder says there is a feeling of disappointment in the Netherlands at the way his sacking played out.
“The rumours were there a long time,” De Boer told The Set Pieces. “It’s been the main news in Holland over the past few days. It was not a shock, only the way it happened. I think people didn’t like that.”
Was Van Gaal treated badly towards the end?
“For sure. Lifting the trophy and then ten minutes later it’s announced you’re not the manager anymore. That doesn’t show a lot of respect for a manager like him.
“You love him or you hate him in Holland, but what stands out is that most people have a lot of respect for him and they know he’s a top manager. But people also don’t like how he behaves sometimes.
“On the other side, people think he’s great for the person he’s always been. He can be hilarious and it’s always an exciting time when he’s around.”
Despite the abrupt nature of Van Gaal’s exit, coming only 48 hours after United lifted the FA Cup at Wembley, De Boer can see the decision from the board’s perspective.
“If I look in the minds of the board members, if they say he isn’t going to be the manager when you’re still fighting for Champions League football and the FA Cup, I think that would have had a bad effect. That’s the reason they didn’t announce it earlier.”
The former Netherlands international now expects Van Gaal to retire, with the manager making a hasty departure from Manchester to his house in Portugal on Monday afternoon.
“He’ll be very disappointed,” said De Boer. “He thought he would maybe still have a chance to get it going because he has the quality to go for every trophy.
“I don’t think he could stay in England. I think he’s just going to relax and enjoy life, he deserves that.
“I have the feeling that he’s going to retire and just enjoy watching football and sometimes give advice – if it’s for Dutch football or whatever. I think that’s probably what’s going to happen.”
Tickets for the International Champions Cup match between Liverpool and Barcelona at Wembley Stadium on August 6th go on sale Friday, June 3rd at www.ticketmaster.co.uk