Antonio Valencia has blamed Manchester United’s troubles on injuries plaguing the club.
Van Gaal has been under immense pressure, as United struggle to qualify for UCL.
And Ecuador international, Valencia has leapt to the defence of Van Gaal, insisting the Dutchman has been left helpless by a crippling injury list.
“It has affected the way the manager has had to work,” the 30-year-old utility man told Sky Sports.
“Your hands are tied. If you have a squad of 20 players, and ten are injured, then you are having to work with half a squad.
“It is not just short term injuries either. You look at Luke Shaw, myself, Wayne Rooney, we have been out for a long period.
“The bad form that we have had in that time has to be down to the amount of injuries that we have had.
“That is bound to affect performances, but now we are getting people back, we need to focus and really fight for the place in the Champions League.
“It is also down to the Premier League, it is tough league. One week you can play very well, and then the next week you are up against a team you are expected to beat, one that is fighting relegation, and they turn it on.”
Valencia, Luke Shaw, Bastian Schweinsteiger and captain Wayne Rooney are among a host of United players to be hampered by injuries during the 2015-16 campaign.