Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal has cleared the air regarding his comments some believed sabotaged Manchester United's pursuit of a Dutch star.
Known to be someone who does not mince his words, the 71-year-old left United in acrimonious circumstances in 2016 when he was sacked two years into his three-year deal, with his departure from Old Trafford coming little more than a day after he guided the side to an FA Cup title triumph over Crystal Palace.
The Dutchman has been brutal in his assessment of the club ever since, even going as far as warning Erik ten Hag about taking charge of the team.
During a press conference in May, he appeared to suggest that Ajax Amsterdam star Jurrien Timber, who was a transfer target for the Red Devils at the time, should be careful about joining his former employers.
"I think a player of his quality can play in the Premier League. That is not a problem. If he has to make this big step now, that's the question. It is not so wise I think (to move to United). He has to play," the tactician said, according to Manchester Evening News.
Those remarks seemingly had an impact on the proposed transfer, with the defender eventually snubbing the move in favour of staying at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
With suggestions arising that the Holland coach was to blame for the failed move as a result, Van Gaal has now denied any wrongdoing on his part, insisting that his words were just advice to his national team star.
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"I want to set one thing straight: I have indeed called players, but I have always ended the conversation with: this is advice," Van Gaal said in a media briefing ahead of his team's UEFA Nations League ties against Poland and Belgium over the course of the next week.
"You have to stay close to yourself and make the choice yourself."
Speaking earlier this month, Timber also defended the Oranje boss.
"Many things that are written in the media are false. Like when people say that it was Louis van Gaal who told me not to go to Manchester United. He actually said I would make minutes there," the 21-year-old said.
The former FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager is set to step down from his current role after the 2022 FIFA World Cup later this year after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
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