Louis van Gaal has broken his silence on his final days at Manchester United by comparing his dismissal to a public execution.
Van Gaal was removed from his post at the end of the 2015/16 season after missing out on a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
The decision came just days after Van Gaal’s United had lifted the FA Cup, beating Crystal Palace 2-1 after extra time at Wembley.
Speaking to Dutch newspaper AD, the 66-year-old addressed his departure from Old Trafford for the first time and related the treatment he received to that of a condemned man.
“United put my head in a noose and I was publicly placed on the gallows,” Van Gaal said. “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.
“My wife, Truus, told me that the attitude of the board had changed. Women have this intuition. They smell it.
“I denied it, even to my wife, because between me as a manager and the chief executive Ed Woodward, everything was running as normal.”
Van Gaal was replaced by his friend and former apprentice Jose Mourinho, who had left Chelsea the previous December.
The Dutchman believes that Mourinho’s departure hastened his exit from Old Trafford, but believes the club should have informed him of their intentions to replace him well in advance.
Van Gaal said: “Suddenly former players started to yap in the media that we were playing boring football and Mourinho’s sacking made it very attractive for everyone to keep bashing me.
“I do understand that choice of United to get Mourinho,” he said. “I never wanted more than two years anyway. Manchester United wanted three years.
“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.”