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 Manchester United sacked manager Louis van Gaal on Monday after an FA Cup triumph failed to make up for the club's inability to qualify for the Champions League amid widespread discontent with a season of insipid performances.

The Dutchman was dismissed two days after United's win over Crystal Palace in the Wembley Cup final, their first trophy in three years, paving the way for the widely-expected appointment of former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho as his successor.

News of Van Gaal's impending departure from the club leaked out minutes after Saturday's 2-1 extra-time victory over Palace and, following relentless media speculation and a day of negotiations, it was confirmed by both sides on Monday evening.

"I'd like to thank Louis and his staff for their excellent work in the past two years culminating in winning a record-equalling 12th FA Cup for the club," executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said in a statement on the website of the club owned by the American Glazer family (

"He has behaved with great professionalism and dignity throughout his time here. He leaves us with a legacy of having given several young players the confidence to show their ability on the highest stage."

Van Gaal, though gushing in his appreciation of the chance to manage the club, was not so happy to be moving on.

"I am very disappointed to be unable to complete our intended three-year plan," he said.

"It has been an honour to manage such a magnificent club as Manchester United FC, and in doing so, I have fulfilled a long-held ambition.

"I have been privileged during my management career to have won 20 trophies but winning the FA Cup, which is steeped in so much history, will always be one of the most special achievements of my career."

That success, however, could not gloss over a season in which United finished fifth in the standings, missing out on Champions League qualification, and where dull performances had the fans booing their own team even after victories.


After replacing David Moyes two years ago, Van Gaal got the team into the Champions League in his first season.

However, United's inability to produce the free-flowing football that characterised Alex Ferguson's trophy-laden reign eventually caused a rift throughout the club and in the stands.

For generations of fans brought up to expect high octane attacking football, Van Gaal's stultifying approach was hard to swallow, particularly when it did not work well, after he spent almost 300 million pounds ($434.34 million) on players.

This season's dire statistics, beyond the key one of fifth place, are a damning indictment of the Dutchman's tactics.

United scored 49 goals in 38 games, in contrast to their previous Premier League average of over 76 and fourth-placed Manchester City's 71.

They had the joint-highest number of goalless draws in the division, while Opta noted that United's 430 shots on target was 15th in the 20-team league and they made more backward passes than any other side.

It was not just supporters who were disgruntled either.

A story in Monday's Guardian newspaper said squad members had talked among themselves about openly defying the Dutchman's rigid tactical directions, which allegedly included instructions to players not to take first-time shots.

It also reported that the two most senior players, Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick, had raised concerns with Van Gaal about his post-match "evaluation sessions" in which he publicly criticised players in front of their team mates