Louis van Gaal aims cheeky dig at Man United and reveals honest Erik ten Hag sack stance

Louis van Gaal in the stands during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and AZ Alkmaar at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on October 8, 2023
-Credit: (Image: Photo by ANP via Getty Images)


Louis van Gaal has aimed a cheeky dig at Manchester United while urging Sir Jim Ratcliffe to keep Erik ten Hag. The United boss faces an uncertain future at Old Trafford despite leading the club to FA Cup glory.

While Manchester United finished eighth in the Premier League, Ten Hag still managed to get his hands on some silverware and secure Europa League qualification. The Dutchman currently sees his contract expire next year, but it remains unclear whether or not he'll remain head coach next term.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Euro 2024 this summer, Van Gaal was quizzed on his fellow countrymen's future. The Netherlands boss insisted that Ten Hag needs more to at Manchester United and compared his situation to his own a few years ago.

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Van Gaal was only given two years in the dugout at Old Trafford, winning the FA Cup in his final season. The 72-year-old said: "Yes of course (he should stay) but I also needed more time. I also won the FA Cup, and before me, 20 years nobody had won the FA Cup.

"Now, Erik is winning the FA Cup, the first year also (qualifying for the) Champions League so I don't think you have to sack him – he needs more time. But I can also be more critical, he's not done it fantastically. You can be with a lot of criticism but he's also shown he's a good manager."

In March 2022, Van Gaal warned Ten Hag against taking the reins at Manchester United. The former Red Devils boss said: "Erik ten Hag is a great coach and that is always good for Manchester United.

"But Manchester United are a commercial club, so it's a difficult choice for a coach. He'd better go to a football club. I'm not going to advise him, he'll call me himself. But he must choose a football club and not a commercial club."

Speaking to reporters after the FA Cup final last month, Ten Hag offered his opinion on speculation over his future. He said: "I'm in a project and we are exactly where we want to be. We're constructing a team. When I took over, it was a mess at United.

"We are on our way to construct a team for the future. We'll go with the ups and downs. What you see is the team is developing, the team is winning, at the end of the day it is about winning trophies."

Ten Hag added: "Two trophies in two years is not bad. Three finals is not bad, but we have to keep going. I'm not satisfied with it. We have to do better. If they don't want me anymore, I go anywhere else to win trophies because that is what I did my whole career."