Tyler Blackett says the Dutchman is not the strict disciplinarian many think.
Van Gaal stepped into the hot seat at Old Trafford this summer after a spell as Netherlands boss, in which he guided the Oranje to third place at the 2014 World Cup.
His arrival in Manchester was greeted with infamous stories of how he intimidated and fell out with former players.
However, defender Blackett insists Van Gaal is only intimidating when he needs to be - having some 'good banter' with his squad at other times.
"He pushes us hard but he is quite relaxed. He seems to know when to be serious and when to have a laugh," he told the Sun on Sunday.
"He has some good banter with the lads but he can be quite intimidating."
"I’ve played in some good teams and it has been a good learning curve," he explained.
"I sort of expected it after the way I played in pre-season. I know I did well and the team got some good results.
"The new manager always said he would be interested in young players and I knew that I was in with a chance."
United resume their season with a clash against Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford after the international break.