Louis van Gaal bows out to boos as Man Utd lift the FA Cup
Victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley will not save the Dutch manager from the Old Trafford chop
Manchester United beat Crystal Palace in extra-time on Saturday evening to win the FA Cup and it's widely anticipated that the victory will bring down the curtain on Louis van Gaal's reign at Old Trafford.
Sunday's papers were all agreed that Jose Mourinho will replace the Dutchman as United manager, with the Sunday Times claiming "a deal with Mourinho was agreed in principle before this weekend's match".
The 53-year-old Portuguese has been out of work since he was released by Chelsea in December, but The Observer says he is desperate to manage a Premier League club and even "turned down an offer from Paris Saint-Germain in the hope that United would come calling".
The paper adds that he will be officially anointed United's new boss "in the next few days", after the club's board agreed to terminate van Gaal's three-year contract 12 months early.
Since replacing the discredited David Moyes in the summer of 2014, Van Gaal has struggled to lift United out of the slough of mediocrity into which they had slipped in the 12 months following Sir Alex Ferguson's departure. Saturday's FA Cup win, which came courtesy of an extra-time goal from Jesse Lingard, was their first success in the competition since 2004, but it won't be enough to save the Dutchman's job.
The Sun reports "the exit was ignominious even in victory", with United fans booing their manager as he lifted the trophy.
According to the paper, which also believes Mourinho will be the man tasked with restoring United's reputation, Van Gaal has paid the price for "two seasons of drudgery on the pitch" and in particular, the failure to qualify for next season's Champions League, only the second time in 25 years that United won't feature in Europe's showpiece tournament.
In that time, Van Gaal has spent £250m on new players - but as former United great Peter Schmeichel said last week, all he's achieved is produce a team that has "bored me to death".
Sky Sports says Mourinho's agent, Jorge Mendes, will arrive in Britain from China on Tuesday "to negotiate a deal" with the club's US owners, the Glazers, who are known to be in the UK. An official announcement will then follow.
Understandably, Van Gaal gave short shrift to reporters on Saturday evening when asked about the rumours, snapping: "I show you the cup. I don't discuss [my future] with the media." Yet Sky Sports claims that Van Gaal told one of their reporters: "It's all over" when wished good luck.
Whatever the future holds for him, the manager was delighted United had come back from a goal down to win. Palace sub Jason Puncheon had put his team ahead on 78 minutes, but Juan Mata levelled two minutes later and Warrington-born Lingard then fired home the winner to bring United level with Arsenal on 12 FA Cup titles.
"The strike from Jesse is unbelievable and the spirit was fantastic," said Van Gaal, whose team played the final 15 minutes with ten minutes after Chris Smalling was sent off.
And the Dutchman couldn't resist a dig at his detractors before signing off for the night. "I don't have to prove myself," he said. "Now I have won the cup in four countries. I'm very happy."