LAGOS, Portugal (REUTERS) - Netherlands football international Daley Blind believes sacked Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal deserved more respect, better treatment and faced unfair speculation over his future before being dismissed on Monday.
"I always worked well with him and would have been keen that the co-operation lasted longer. The manager of a top club in England is naturally under much more pressure but over the last six months he has not been treated fairly," the defender told reporters at the Dutch team's training camp in Portugal.
"I think a manager like Louis van Gaal, who has achieved so much already, deserved more respect," added Blind from the Netherlands' base for three post-season internationals over the next fortnight.
"Even through there was so much being written about him losing his job over the last months, he always looked to protect and shelter us. It is not easy for a coach if you are repeatedly being fired in the newspapers.
"Still, we as a squad kept believing in the manager and showed that with our FA Cup win (over Crystal Palace on Saturday). "That we did together for the supporters, the manager and for ourselves. It was in the end, a good finish to the season," added the 26-year-old Blind, who van Gaal brought across from Ajax Amsterdam when he took over at Old Trafford two years ago.
"If it is true that Jose Mourinho is coming, then it is also a manager who has achieved much. I... will have to show what I can do. Personally I can look back on a good season in which I played 57 matches plus a few internationals," he said.
Teammate Memphis Depay said he believed his future at the club was safe despite van Gaal's departure. "I don't know why it wouldn't be. I am happy to be there and the management know I'm happy to be there," said the 22-year-old forward, who was left out of the FA Cup final squad.
"A love-hate relationship? I'm not sure about that. But him leaving is part of life in football and you learn from that and it makes you stronger."
Finishing the season with the Dutch national team, added Depay, would be a chance "to train at a high level and hopefully play some internationals, a fine way to end the season".
"Of course, I want to show here that I can play football. It is a good opportunity to play again after being on the bench for a lot of games," he said.
The Netherlands, who shockingly missed out on the European Championship, are scheduled to play friendlies against three Euro 2016 qualifiers starting with Ireland on Friday, before matches against Poland (June 1) and Austria (June 4).