CAPE TOWN – Former Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says the club made a mistake in sacking Louis van Gaal and replacing him with Jose Mourinho.
Van Gaal spent two seasons at Old Trafford after being appointed following the sacking of David Moyes and guided the club to Champions League qualification and an FA Cup win, their first trophy in the post-Alex Ferguson era.
The Dutchman was fired after the club beat Crystal Palace in the 2016 FA Cup final in his second season despite signing a three-year contract when he joined.
“I was devastated when Louis was sacked,” Rooney was quoted by The Mirror in an extract from the 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.
“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,” said Rooney.