Five wins and three losses from 12 games have left the Manchester club 13 points off league leaders Chelsea, but the Dutchman has worked wonders with a squad decimated by injuries and possessing a defensive unit made up of youth team players and natural midfielders.
Whilst never truly hit by the same circumstances as those currently being felt at Old Trafford, former boss Alex Ferguson was renowned for his ability to lead the club to positive results despite a negative situation, and he instilled a winning mentality in all his players that saw them win numerous trophies whilst being far from the best club around - especially in his latter years as manager.
Following the Scot’s tenure in charge, David Moyes seemingly undid all of Ferguson’s work by poisoning the team spirit and turning the club into and on-and-off-pitch shambles. Van Gaal has done much to turn this around, and, although results are still not easily forthcoming, there are many positives to be taken from his early weeks.
Ryan Giggs, who is working under van Gaal, puts this improved mentality down to the Dutchman’s similarities with Ferguson, which he spoke of whilst being interviewed by the Manchester Evening News.
When asked what van Gaal wants to see in his squad, Giggs replied: “Intensity and preparation. He demands that in every training session.
“He wants the same intensity as if it was a game.
“There are a lot of similarities to Sir Alex. He sets standards and if you drop below them he is not happy.”
Despite failing to live up to the expectations set for him since his arrival at Old Trafford, United fans will be hoping van Gaal can further follow the footsteps of Ferguson - something that can happen with the winning of a trophy.