Van Gaal: It has been an honour

He may have been shown the door by Manchester United, but Louis van Gaal says he “fulfilled a long-held ambition” when he managed the club.

The Dutchman’s two-year stint at Old Trafford came to an end on Monday with the club announcing he “is to leave with immediate effect”.

Although the team won the FA Cup with a 2-1 extra-time victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday, they failed to secure qualification to next season’s Champions League as they finished fifth.

Manchester United fans have also been unimpressed by the type of football the team have played the past two seasons as they scored only 49 goals this campaign, their lowest total since the 1989-90 campaign.

Many believed Van Gaal has been a dead man walking for most of this season, but the club’s board only made it official on Monday.

Despite coming in for a lot of criticism, the 64-year-old spoke of his “pride” in managing such a big club.

“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 in a statement on the club’s official website.

“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 hope that winning the FA Cup will give the club a platform to build upon next season to restore the success that this passionate set of fans desire.

Van Gaal also had nothing but praise for the players he worked with and the Manchester United fans.

He added: “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 indebted to my support and coaching staff, who have given me their all during their time at the club.”