Louis Van Gaal is on his way out of Old Trafford after two seasons in charge, but was it all bad? Here are five highlights from his Manchester United tenure.
12 reasons revel in Wembley win
Starved off success by their high standards since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, Manchester United lifted the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium on Saturday with a 2-1 defeat of Crystal Palace after wins over West Ham and Everton en route to the final. Home-grown star Jesse Lingard hit an extra-time winner as United won a record-equalling 12th FA Cup and their first since 2004.
Red letter day
During Louis Van Gaal’s rein Manchester United won all four Premier League games against bitter rivals Liverpool. A 3-0 win at Old Trafford last term was followed by a 2-1 victory at Anfield, lit up by a stunning volley from Juan Mata. Mega-money signing Anthony Martial scored his first goal for the club in September’s 3-1 win, while captain Wayne Rooney hit the only goal in January’s meeting on Merseyside.
Emergence of youth
Manchester United have always championed promising young talent and Louis Van Gaal emphatically honoured that tradition. The Dutchman gave debuts to 14 Academy graduates with varying degrees of success. But, whatever you may think of him, Jesse Lingard, Tyler Blackett, Saidy Janko, Reece James, Andreas Pereira, Paddy McNair, Tom Thorpe, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Donald Love, Joe Riley, Marcus Rashford, Regan Poole, Tim Fosu-Mensah and James Weir will always owe Van Gaal a debt of gratitude.
One of their own stuns City
Perhaps the player of that 14 to have made the greatest impact is Marcus Rashford. The 18-year-old shot to prominence when he was thrust into the action against FC Midtjylland after Anthony Martial was injured in the warm-up and scored twice. His finest moment in red to date though, was the winner in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium in March.
From his own rendition of the Beatles classic ‘when I’m 64’ to his touchline tumble against Arsenal, the Dutchman has done his best to endear himself to England. His passionate repetition of the supporters’ chant “Louis Van Gaal’s army” was an internet favourite, while inadvertently renaming centre-back Chris Smalling ‘Mike’ was also a golden moment for social media users.