Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel feels the FA Cup is all his old club has to fight for this season.
Van Gaal, 64, has faced criticism as United have struggled in the Premier League and failed to reach the Champions League knockout stage.
But his side reached the FA Cup fifth round with a 3-1 win at Derby.
Schmeichel said the FA Cup is their only hope of salvaging an unsatisfactory season.
“If they had lost at Derby the season would have been finished,” said the 52-year-old Dane, who watched the game as a BBC Sport summariser.
“I can’t remember any point in Manchester United’s history when the season has been finished in January.”