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it's over

It's official: Louis van Gaal has been sacked by Manchester United

The Dutchman says he’s ‘very disappointed’ that the proposed three-year plan has ended prematurely.

MANCHESTER UNITED HAVE sacked Louis van Gaal.

The club finally announced the news in a statement this evening, after the Dutchman had spent the entire day at the club’s Carrington training complex thrashing out a severance package.

United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is quoted as saying:

I would 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 (and securing him a title in four different countries). 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. Everyone at the club wishes him all the best in the future.A decision on a successor as manager will be announced soon.”

It’s expected that Jose Mourinho will be announced as the club’s new manager tomorrow.

Van Gaal has also issued a lengthy and respectful statement tonight, saying he’s ‘very disappointed’ by the premature end to what was an ‘intended’ three-year plan.

“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”, he said.

Crystal Palace v Manchester United - Emirates FA Cup - Final - Wembley Stadium Nick Potts / PA Wire/Press Association Images Nick Potts / PA Wire/Press Association Images / PA Wire/Press Association Images

“I am immensely proud to have helped United win the FA Cup for the 12th time in the club’s history. 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.

I am very disappointed to be unable to complete our intended three-year plan. I believe that the foundations are firmly in place to enable the club to move forward and achieve even greater success.

I thank my players and wish them well for next season. It has been a pleasure to work with them and it has been particularly rewarding to see so many young players take their chance to break into the first team and excel. I look forward to watching the continued development of these young players next season.

Thank you to the owners and board of Manchester United for giving me the opportunity to manage this great club. I would also like to express my gratitude to the amazing United supporters. They are truly the best fans in the world.

I am deeply grateful to each and every member of the club’s staff – the sports science team, the medical team, the kit and laundry department, club administration, the press office, the manager’s team, the Academy team, ground staff and the catering team, both at Old Trafford stadium and Carrington training ground, all of whom have given me their unwavering support in my time at United. Never in my 25 years as a manager have I been so well supported in my role.

Finally, my special thanks go to Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton for always making me and my family feel so welcome throughout my time as Manchester United manager.”

Van Gaal arrived at United having guided the Netherlands to the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup.

There were initial and inevitable stumbling blocks, as new signings found their feet. Some, like the record-breaking Angel di Maria didn’t last long.

The Dutchman’s debut campaign saw the side reach the minimum requirement: fourth place and Champions League qualification.

But, the 2015/2016 campaign was a limp and uninspiring one for van Gaal and his team. There were more expensive acquisitions but an awful European run – group-stage elimination in the Champions League and defeat to domestic rivals Liverpool in the Europa League latter stages.

Louis Van Gaal File Photo Mike Egerton / PA Wire/Press Association Images Mike Egerton / PA Wire/Press Association Images / PA Wire/Press Association Images

In December, it seemed like van Gaal was set for the sack as United went eight games without a win. But the new year brought some respite and the start of an FA Cup campaign that ended with silverware last weekend at Wembley.

But, the damage had already been done. A week earlier, United’s fifth-place league finish was confirmed and they had missed out on a Champions League place for the second time in three seasons.

Deemed not good enough and with the club stagnating despite the heavy investment, it was inevitable van Gaal would be forced out.

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