Van Gaal has certainly improved the squad he inherited, gone is the dead wood, while promising young talent has been promoted alongside a recruitment programme which has enjoyed varying degrees of success.
The boss has admitted the attack lacks pace and Rooney's form is surely- or it should be- Van Gaal's biggest concern.
Roy Keane hit out in the media on Wednesday night, describing the captain as "awful" and saying he needs to "have a look at himself".
Around the under performing skipper, though, there is great attacking promise.
Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay are brimming with potential but both are still feeling their way into the Premier League, as most young imports tend to do in the first season.
Jesse Lingard has been a late bloomer and is also showing signs of being able to consistently mix it in the first XI.
One legitimate area of concern is Van Gaal's present Plan B.
Too often and too early he turns to Marouane Fellaini as his first change, when more crafty options remain on the bench.
If this Route One to the big Belgian worked, then fair enough but it so rarely does.
So, of course there is work to be done in attack.
But now the defensive elements are fixed, LVG can focus on linking them to those in front.
With almost every other area of the squad in good shape, United can go all out to recruit the couple of players Van Gaal believes will make the difference - partly to results but partly also the current style to which they are achieved.
If some patience can be found at Old Trafford then next season, the last of Van Gaal's contract and probably his illustrious management career, might just be a season worth waiting for.
If in the meantime the manager can keep United above their biggest rivals in the league, then is a temporary lack of swagger not a price worth paying?