Louis van Gaal has called for Jose Mourinho to explain the circumstances behind replacing him as Manchester United manager in the summer of 2016.
The Dutchman was axed by United within hours of the FA Cup in 2016, the first silverware since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement three years earlier.
He was replaced by Mourinho, whose appointment was confirmed just four days after van Gaal had been dismissed after the victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley.
The speed of that appointment frustrated van Gaal, who had Mourinho as his assistant during his time in charge at Barcelona. Van Gaal revealed his wife had been warning him for six months that the club were going to sack him, leaving him with his “head in a noose”.
“In my opinion, it should be Mourinho who should speak up about what happened – if he would be prepared to do so,” van Gaal told the Sunday Mirror .
“But Mourinho does not have to call me any more. 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.”
Van Gaal said he never saw the axe coming at Old Trafford, but his wife Truus sensed the club were working to remove him from midway through the 2015/16 season, and in the end even victory in the cup final at Wembley wasn’t enough to save him.
When he was dismissed by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward he was left stunned, with van Gaal already planning for a third season at United.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Van Gaal has managed Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and the Dutch national team in a glittering career, but insists his two years at Old Trafford and the FA Cup success was the best achievement in a career that yielded 20 trophies as a club boss.
He walked away from management after leaving United, but still remembers his time at the club fondly.
“You know, what I achieved at Man United I consider the biggest performance in my entire career,” van Gaal said.
“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.”