• Van Gaal defiant amid Mourinho speculation

    Louis Van Gaal (left) and Jose Mourinho AFP PHOTO

    Louis Van Gaal (left) and Jose Mourinho

    LONDON: Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal defended his achievements after reports that Jose Mourinho is poised to replace him overshadowed his side’s FA Cup triumph against Crystal Palace.

    A memorable extra-time winner by Jesse Lingard brought United a 2-1 victory at Wembley on Saturday, ending the club’s 12-year wait for a record-equaling 12th FA Cup, but within minutes of the final whistle, reports were circulating that Mourinho’s appointment is imminent.

    Van Gaal refused to discuss the matter, telling reporters “I don’t want to talk about leaving the club”, but argued that despite United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League, he had performed well in the circumstances.

    When asked if he had established a platform for future success, he replied: “Of course. I have said when I started that we are in a process of transition.

    “That I have already said a lot of times in press conferences, so I repeat myself. I have to refresh my squad and I have done it.

    “In spite of the many injuries this season, we are still in the race (for fourth place) and now we have lifted the cup. That’s a title, and it was three years ago that United (last) had a title.

    “I’m very proud that I’m the first manager after the period of Sir Alex Ferguson (to win a trophy). I have made a picture with him, because that’s history.”

    The BBC reported that Mourinho, sacked by Chelsea in December, would be officially announced as United manager early next week.

    Asked if he expected to keep his job, Van Gaal gestured to the FA Cup trophy, which was sitting on a table in front of him, and said: “I show you the cup and I don’t discuss it with my friends of the media, who already sacked me for six months.

    “Which manager can do that, what I have done?”

    Van Gaal departed the press conference room in sarcastic fashion, hoisting the cup aloft and saying: “Thank you for the congratulations.”



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