London (AFP) – Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal refused to discuss his future on Saturday amid reports that Jose Mourinho is on the brink of being appointed as his successor.
Van Gaal saw United come from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley, giving him his first trophy at the club, but within minutes of the final whistle, media organisations including the BBC and Sky were reporting that his days at Old Trafford are numbered.
Van Gaal has been under fire for months, with United crashing out of the Champions League in the group phase and then failing to qualify for next season’s competition, but the Dutchman would not be drawn on his position in his post-match press conference.
Asked if he expected to keep his job, he gestured to the FA Cup trophy, which was sitting on a table in front of him, and said: “I show you the cup and I don’t discuss it with my friends of the media, who already sacked me for six months.
“Which manager can do that, what I have done?”
The BBC reported that Mourinho, sacked by Chelsea for the second time in December, would be officially announced as United manager early next week.
When Van Gaal was asked if victory in the cup final meant that he would go out on a high, he replied: “I don’t want to talk about leaving the club.”
Mourinho was also in London on Saturday, attending British boxer David Haye’s heavyweight fight against Arnold Gjergjaj at the O2 Arena, but when asked to comment on the reports by Britain’s Press Association, he declined to do so.
Van Gaal had earlier highlighted his record of having won domestic cups in four countries, following previous successes with Ajax in his native Holland, Barcelona in Spain and Bayern Munich in Germany.
“It is fantastic to win this title for the club, for the fans and also for me, because I now have won the cup in four countries, and not many managers have done that,” the 64-year-old told BT Sport.
Palace took a 78th-minute lead through Jason Puncheon, but Juan Mata equalised within three minutes before substitute Jesse Lingard slammed home a memorable extra-time winner to give United a record-equalling 12th FA Cup.
United’s victory came despite them having had to play Bournemouth on Tuesday in a game held over from the previous weekend due to a bomb scare at Old Trafford, as well as an extra-time red card for Chris Smalling, who was dismissed for two bookable offences.
“With 10 players, and we have played Tuesday evening also, but we have deserved it, I think,” Van Gaal added. “It was a super goal, eh?”
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