May 19, 2016

    I'll still be at Old Trafford next season: Van Gaal


    MANCHESTER United manager Louis van Gaal expressed confidence that he will still be at Old Trafford next season despite his team crawling to an underwhelming fifth-place finish in the Premier League.

    United beat Bournemouth 3-1 in their final fixture yesterday - a game held over from Sunday due to a bomb scare.

    But it was not enough to take them into the Champions League places as they finished below fourth-place Manchester City on goal difference.

    United must now beat Crystal Palace in Saturday's FA Cup final to salvage something from their season, and there were ripples of dissent towards van Gaal in the form of boos as he began a post-match address to a thin home crowd.

    But despite persistent speculation linking Jose Mourinho with his job, when asked if he would still be in place on the first day of next season, van Gaal, who took over at United in 2014, replied: "Yes. Because I have signed a three-year contract."

    He conceded that the fifth-place finish represented a "step back" but said that Leicester City's title triumph proved that anyone could win the title next season.

    Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe confirmed that his club had rejected offers from West Ham for midfielder Matt Ritchie and Callum Wilson on the eve of the game, and expressed annoyance over the timing of the bids.

    "We had a bid Monday evening," said Howe, whose side finished their first-ever top-flight campaign in 16th place.

    "The bid was rejected and we don't need to sell.

    "We want to improve our squad, not weaken it."