Manchester United CEO Ed Woodward has 'zero understanding of football', says Louis van Gaal

Woodward
Image: Ed Woodward became Manchester United CEO in 2013

Louis van Gaal claims Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward has "zero understanding of football" and the club is suffering as a result.

The 67-year-old former United manager, who also had spells in charge of Ajax, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Netherlands, blames Woodward for most of club's struggles since he was sacked in 2016.

"At Bayern, the people in charge are football men. I always appreciated that," Van Gaal told German magazine 11 Freunde.

"At Manchester United, on the other hand, Ed Woodward was installed as CEO - somebody with zero understanding of football who was previously an investment banker.

Louis van Gaal and Ed Woodward
Image: Woodward has 'zero understanding of football', according to Louis van Gaal

"It cannot be a good thing when a club is run solely from a commercially-driven perspective."

Despite winning the FA Cup in his last game in charge, Van Gaal was sacked as United missed out on Champions League qualification following a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League.

He was replaced by Jose Mourinho, who was also sacked in December 2018, but Van Gaal understands why the club appointed the former Chelsea boss.

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Van Gaal and Mourinho worked together at Barcelona before facing each other several times through their managerial careers
Image: Van Gaal and Mourinho worked together at Barcelona before facing each other several times through their managerial careers

"I don't hold it against the club. They wanted Mourinho and he was on the market," the Dutchman added. "Appointing him was obviously interesting from a business point of view.

"He wins games and for a club like United, the main thing is to win trophies. How they are won isn't the main priority, the English fans see it differently.

"They accept that the game is not all about attacking but it is also about defending. I always tried to defend high up the pitch, to be in the opposition's half and play the game there."

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