Football

Wayne Rooney says Manchester United made huge error axing Louis van Gaal for Jose Mourinho


The Red Devils legend feels United should not have swooped for Mourinho (Picture: Getty)

Wayne Rooney says Manchester United made a big mistake by axing Louis van Gaal for Jose Mourinho and was ‘devastated’ when the legendary Dutch manager was sacked.

Van Gaal spent two seasons at Old Trafford, winning the FA Cup in his second campaign but finishing outside the top four which prompted the Red Devils’ hierarchy to swoop for Mourinho.

But Rooney now says the decision to change managers was premature and feels Van Gaal was wrongly denied a third season, even claiming he learnt more from the 68-year-old than he did from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Rooney loved his two years playing under Van Gaal at Old Trafford (Picture: Getty)

‘I was devastated when Louis was sacked,’ Rooney is quoted by The Mirror in an extract from a new book, LVG – The Manager and the Total Person.

‘For me, it was an absolute joy to work with him. We should have kept him for a third season. We would have been so much stronger.

‘I felt things were improving and players started to understand his vision. In those two years I learned more than under any other manager.

‘This is why I will be forever grateful to him. Not just for making me captain, but also for all the trust and belief he had in me.

‘We didn’t have the best team in the league anyway, but we could not afford to have 12 players injured.

‘Our best XI was good enough to play in the top four, but once we got injuries we got in trouble because we did not have the same quality in the squad as in the years before.

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‘At the time it was good for me because I had decided that I wanted to become a manager.

‘And working with Louis in that way was priceless in my opinion, because I could learn so much from him. I could not have wished for a better example.’

United had already lined up Mourinho before Van Gaal was sacked and he won the Carabao Cup, Community Shield and Europa League in his first season before pushing Manchester City close in the 2017/18 Premier League campaign, ultimately finishing second.

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