Ronald Koeman says Manchester United as a club don’t deserve an FA Cup medal because of the way they treated Louis van Gaal.
Koeman and Van Gaal have endured a frosty relationship since a fall-out in 2004 when they were both at Ajax as manager and director of football respectively, but the Southampton manager has spoken out in support of his fellow Dutchman regarding his treatment by United.
Van Gaal was sacked by the club on Monday, just two days after leading them to an FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace, with Jose Mourinho confirmed as his successor by Friday.
“I have watched the process around Louis and Jose Mourinho from a distance,” Koeman told the Sunday Mirror.
“For months we were all reading that Mourinho was busy with Manchester United.
“If Louis was not told about getting the sack until after the FA Cup final, then Manchester United as a club don’t deserve a medal for the way they treated him.
“If you know a little bit about the business at the highest level in football, then you know that these kind of deals are not done overnight.
“But Louis has been put under tremendous pressure for months. This is why I admire the way he kept his dignity.
“Of course, he had a number of run-ins with the media and there were moments when I thought ‘Louis, you could have dealt with that in another way.’ But Louis is Louis.
“But looking at the incredible pressure all around him, I think he did a great job winning a big trophy like the FA Cup.”
Koeman acknowledges that United under-achieved in failing to secure a Champions League spot but has pointed to a changing dynamic in the Premier League which he believes will lead to an even more unpredictable season in 2016-17.
“It must have been a disappointment for Louis van Gaal that he was not able to guide United into to the top four,” Koeman added.
“But Leicester have made the impossible possible and that is the biggest of wake up calls for the big clubs. They will all need to react – and we all know their budgets are almost unlimited.
“With Southampton, we beat every big club this season at least once.
“We only finished only three points behind Man City and Man United and we finished 13 points ahead of Chelsea. So we performed above the maximum of what people thought was possible.
“It is only going to be more exciting and competitive. Next season will be the most spectacular fans have ever witnessed.”