The Southampton manager, Ronald Koeman, had a high-profile fallout with Van Gaal when he was his director of football at Ajax, but was no less sympathetic about his dismissal from Old Trafford just two days after winning the FA Cup and subsequent replacement with Jose Mourinho, seemingly a deal in-waiting since the turn of the year.
Highly-rated Koeman, who led Southampton to a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League this season, told The Mirror: ‘I have watched the process around Louis and Jose Mourinho from a distance.
“For months we were all reading that Mourinho was busy with Manchester United. If Louis was not told about getting the sack until after the FA Cup final, then Manchester United as a club don’t deserve a medal for the way they treated him.’
Koeman added: ‘If you know a little bit about the business at the highest level in football, then you know that these kind of deals are not done overnight.
“But Louis has been put under tremendous pressure for months. This is why I admire the way he kept his dignity.”
While Van Gaal did win United’s first piece of major silverware since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, he failed to qualify for next term’s Champions League and was roundly criticised by the club’s fans for a defensive style of football.
Several expensive transfers made under Van Gaal during his reign, such as Angel di Maria and Memphis Depay as well as misfiring striker Radamel Falcao on loan, had far from the desired impact.