Cape Town - Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has expressed sympathy for Louis van Gaal in the wake of his unceremonious dismissal at Manchester United last week.
Van Gaal brought United their first silverware in the post-Ferguson era with their FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace on May 21, but was sacked just two days later for his failure to secure Champions League football next season.
Persistent rumours that Jose Mourinho was set to replace the Dutchman only intensified after the Red Devils' Wembley triumph, and the managerial shift finally took place this week when the Portuguese coach was appointed his successor.
Koeman, who was Van Gaal's assistant at Barcelona, admired the way his compatriot dealt with the constant pressure surrounding his future and criticised United's treatment of the 53-year-old, who had a little over 12 months left on his contract at Old Trafford.
"I have watched the process around Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho from a distance. For months we were all reading that Mourinho was busy with Manchester United," Koeman wrote in his column for De Telegraaf.
"If Louis was not told about getting the sack until after the FA Cup final, then Manchester United as a club don't deserve a medal for the way they treated him.
"If you know a little bit about the business at the highest level in football, then you know that these kind of deals are not done overnight. But Louis has been put under tremendous pressure for months. This is why I admire the way he kept his dignity.
"Of course, he had a number of run-ins with the media and there were moments when I thought 'Louis, you could have dealt with that in another way.' But Louis is Louis. Looking at the incredible pressure all around him, I think he did a great job winning a big trophy like the FA Cup."