Ex-Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed that he turned down the chance join Tottenham in 2014 because he followed his heart and wanted to work at the 'number one team' in England after already doing so in Netherlands, Spain and Germany.

Van Gaal famously had success at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich during his illustrious career and was keen to add United to that list because of the club's standing in England, even though he admits that Tottenham might have actually been a better option.


"Tottenham were a better selection because Manchester United were an old team and I knew I would have to transform them," Van Gaal told BBC Sport in what is his first written interview with British media since being sacked by the Red Devils in 2016.

"Was it the wrong choice? Maybe, but I follow my heart. I worked at the number one team in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and now also in England."

Van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford off the back of guiding his Netherlands team to an unexpected third place finish at the 2014 World Cup, sending optimism through the roof among fans eager to see him transform the club after a disastrous first season without Sir Alex Ferguson.


But things unravelled fairly quickly. United improved to fourth place in Van Gaal's debut year, but criticism over his style of play, the failure of key recruitments to live up to expectation and early elimination from the Champions League the following season spelled the end.

It appeared he was on borrowed time as early as December 2015, with speculation regarding Jose Mourinho then exploding when he was sacked by Chelsea and became available.

The club appeared to stand by Van Gaal, all the while in full negotiations with Mourinho - behind his back but in full knowledge of the media, then pulling the trigger on the Dutchman in callous fashion just two days after he delivered the FA Cup, the club's first post-Ferguson trophy.


Having only wanted a two-year contract at Old Trafford that would have taken him to the age of 65 and retirement, the club apparently insisted that he sign for three. A two-year deal would have allowed him to walk away on a high in 2016, instead executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward sacked him with 12 months left and Van Gaal remains 'angry' about it to this day.

Van Gaal walked into the press conference after the FA Cup final in May 2016, trophy in hand, and seemingly everyone in the room, except himself, knew he was about to be sacked.

"The Glazers and Ed Woodward asked me. That is why I am still angry with the way they chose to do it. Ed Woodward knew Manchester United would be my last club," he said.