Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has been told he did himself zero favours during his time at Old Trafford by discarding seven key stars from the Sir Alex Ferguson era too quickly.
The Dutchman – who was at Manchester United for two years, winning the FA Cup in his time there – was chosen as the man to replace David Moyes in summer 2014 and was seen by those in authority at Old Trafford as the man to bring the good times back for the Red Devils.
However, Van Gaal often divided opinion with his forthright and often tempestuous approach to the media, while some of his most costly transfer incomings – namely Memphis Depay and Angel Di Maria – failed to deliver the goods.
Now, however, Van Gaal has been criticised for the players he decided to cast aside during his time at Old Trafford, with a report in The Athletic naming seven men he giot rid of too soon.
As per the report, which quotes a source, those in the corridors of power at Old Trafford felt Van Gaal was too sell off Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher, Nani, Rafael da Silva and Jonny Evans.
The septet were all intrumental figures in the latter period of Ferguson’s time at Old Trafford and the source is quoted as accusing the Dutchman of stripping the “heart” and the “soul” of the team.
“They got rid of too many big personalities, too many well-respected players at one time. They are the guys who would tell the younger players how to act, how to win,” he added.
Van Gaal has since opened up on his struggles at Old Trafford and despite admitting his grievances with certain aspects of his time at the club, he insisted he had no regrets at moving to United.
“The problem begins with, of course, that Manchester United was never refreshed,” the 67-year-old told The Guardian.
“I think when you are a manager you have to refresh every year to keep the team-building process going.”
Van Gaal added on his transfer frustrations: “I didn’t always get the players that I want. That’s the problem.
“There is Woodward and his right hand is [head of corporate development] Matt Judge. Judge I met once in a while but not too much. And there was the head of scouting. That was the structure but you are always dependent on Woodward and Judge.
“I thought always Manchester United can buy every player because they have a lot of power. Seemingly a few players were not reachable for Manchester United. I cannot understand but it was like that.”
Despite being disappointed at how his time with United came to an end, Van Gaal insists he has no regrets.
He went on to say: “No. The way they sacked me was terrible. But I like my time in England, because of the culture, because of the people. A lot of humour and always supporting the manager. I have respect for everybody I worked with.”
It is, of course, a very different United side these days under current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with January recruit Bruno Fernandes pulling the strings in central midfield. And the one player the Portuguese superstar would like to see join him at Old Trafford has had his say on the rumours linking him with a surprise free-transfer move to the Red Devils.