Two seasons without any trophies at Old Trafford is pretty much unheard of in recent memory. But that is what has happened over the last 24 months, and a third consecutive campaign without any silverware could call the power of the iconic club into question.
There is no doubting that this season, especially given the money shelled out over the summer, the pressure is firmly on Van Gaal to deliver at least one trophy.
Not only because a club the size of Manchester United shouldn’t be going three seasons without silverware, but also because personally for LVG, his legacy depends on it.
He has gradually won over the United faithful following a topsy-turvy first year in charge in which he managed to guide his side into the top four – the main target following such a woeful spell under David Moyes.
There won’t be any doubting of ability to deliver the trophies, however, on Van Gaal’s behalf as he is a man who, according to former United great Gary Neville, is an “imposing figure” who provides the “reassurance” that he, and only he, is in charge of the situation.
Most agreed that Van Gaal’s no nonsense, no room for sentiment approach was exactly what was needed following the Moyes debacle, and perhaps that is what is most impressive about the Dutchman: he doesn’t believe in sentiment.
Getting rid of United favourites Rio Ferdinand and Robin van Persie without giving it a second thought, as well as the sale of Angel Di Maria to PSG, were examples of the fact he believes that there is no time for second chances in his team – it is now or never.
While some may feel players like Di Maria deserve chances, you can hardly argue with the track record of Van Gaal, who has already delivered satisfaction and relief at Old Trafford with the return to the Champions League.
However, that is only the start, and it is worth remembering that fourth place last season would have usually been seen as a failure in any other Premier League season – barring the last two – but now is surely the time for United to push on a bit further.
Van Gaal knows that and is well aware failure to do so will put him under pressure, which he has avoided so well largely down to the aura he gives off.
Take the sale of Di Maria a year after spending a British transfer record fee on the Argentine, or the failure of Radamel Falcao, who arrived with a huge loan fee but scored just four goals last season – neither can be construed as positive.
And such mistakes may have not been flown under the radar if they had been made by someone in less formidable shoes and is it true that LVG seems to make any little error or problem seem as though it was part of the big master plan all of along.
However, he can not afford to oversee another slow start to the season, as now there are no excuses. Just 13 points from the first 10 games last season was costly for him, but 52 from the next 22 was title winning form and only a late season defeat away at Chelsea curtailed that.
That sort of improvement is needed for Van Gaal and six points from two games so far is a good start, but it is only that, the time is now for the charismatic Dutchman and United.