‘We could all see the strain on Louis van Gaal…it was unbearable’ – Marcel van der Kraan on Manchester United sacking

23 May

Dutch football expert Marcel van der Kraan has told talkSPORT the pressure in the Manchester United hotseat ‘was absolutely unbearable’ for axed boss Louis van Gaal.

Though there still no official announcement from United, it is widely understood that Van Gaal has been relieved of his duties as Red Devils manager.

Saturday’s FA Cup final win – the club’s first silverware since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013 – was largely overshadowed by fresh reports that Jose Mourinho was set to replace the Dutchman.

The celebrations barely had the chance to subside at Wembley before the manager was quizzed about his long-term future at Old Trafford and Van der Kraan, who was at the post-match press conference, said the strain on the boss was plain to see.

“We could all see the strain at Wembley,” the Telegraaf journalist told Hawksbee and Jacobs.

“I attended his last press conference and you could tell then that the pressure he was under was absolutely unbearable.

“He expected to stay. He was not under the impression that he would be sacked. He thought he had the authority and the capability to turn things around. He said, ‘I need that third year and I’m convinced I’m going to do it’.

“He thought he would have the backing and that’s probably going to be his biggest disappointment of all, in the Manchester United board and owners.

“He also expressed a number of times over the last few weeks that his authority has been undermined by all the reports about him getting the sack.”

Van Gaal is well known for his prickly relationship with journalists, having fallen out with the press during his reign in charge at Barcelona as well as the Dutch national side.

The British press have been treated to some amusing moments with Van Gaal during his two-year Premier League spell, but we have also seen his other, more brooding, sarcastic and snappy side.

But Van der Kraan believes he found the British press to be the worst of the lot.

“I dare say he’ll see his relationship with the British media has been the lowest and the worst of his entire career,” he added.

“I have attended his press conferences in Spain, which were not always friendly and joyful, and I’ve see him with the Dutch national press – in both cases when he left he had blazing rows with the media.

“But the press conference that completely eclipses all the others was the one on Saturday [after the FA Cup win] when he shouted at the media: ‘thank you for the congratulations!’

“That’s where I could tell he was completely frustrated with the treatment he’s received in England.”


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