Louis van Gaal says he worked ‘with my head in a noose’ for six months at Manchester United – and that his wife Truus warned him the club were working to replace him.
The Dutchman ended his distinguished coaching career with a two-year spell at Old Trafford, winning the FA Cup in 2016 – before being sacked two days later.
Van Gaal says he did not initially realise what United were planning, but his wife saw through Ed Woodward’s plans.
“The hardest thing was trying to survive as Manchester United’s manager when I had my head in a noose for six months,” Van Gaal told the Mirror.
“From January until the end of the season, my wife Truus warned me. She is a woman – and a woman has an instinct for things like this.
“I did not see what Woodward was up to, but women have different qualities than men. I really did not sense that they were plotting something.
“I was wholly convinced that I’d be able to see out my contract and have a third season at United. And it was the biggest surprise of my life when Woodward sacked me.
“I had faced resistance internally at other clubs and federations before. But that was nothing compared to what I had to put up with at Man Utd.
“At Barcelona, I walked away because I was loyal to the president. I waved away £5 million. But my principles were more important at United – I had achieved so much there.”
Once removed, Van Gaal was replaced by Jose Mourinho. The pair had previously worked together at Barcelona but the Dutchman thinks his replacement should have apologised for what happened.
“In my opinion, it should be Mourinho who should speak up about what happened – if he would be prepared to do so,” he added.
“But Mourinho does not have to call me anymore. I was left with my head in a noose, waiting to be hanged all that time after January.
“But I still kept the trust of the players, so I am proud. It was a massive achievement that year.
“What I achieved at Man Utd I consider the biggest performance in my entire career.
“Bigger than any other trophy or what I did with Holland in the World Cup in Brazil. And, for more than one reason, I see my work at United as bigger than anything else.
“We won the FA Cup with 10 men in extra time at Wembley. The FA Cup is the most prestigious national cup competition in the world, so I was immensely proud to win that.”