Two goals from Wayne Rooney ??? including a penalty scored after Wes Brown had been mistakenly sent off when John O???Shea fouled Radamel Falcao in the box ??? moved United up to third in the Premier League.
And Van Gaal, who had opted to deploy wingers and a four-man defence against Sunderland, told Sky Sports he was happy with the way his side performed in that formation.
???The first half could be better but in the second half we have controlled the match, scored goals, created chances and we didn???t give any chances away,??? he said. ???I???m very pleased.
???We have played this system against Chelsea, Manchester City and Crystal Palace. At that time the balance was not so well as today. That???s a big step in the process.
???You can???t always play in this system. This is dependable on a lot of aspects in your team but also the opponent.???
Ashley Young, in particular, impressed for United. Van Gaal praised the England international???s display and also applauded Falcao???s contribution, after the Colombian started up front in place of the injured Robin van Persie.
???Ashley Young has played a good match,??? said Van Gaal.
???He gives power and security on that side, so I was pleased with him. But I was pleased with more players today. I was also happy Falcao did that wonderful action because he prepared the penalty.???
Rooney had gone eight games without a goal before his double on Saturday and Van Gaal reckons his captain???s two goals will boost his belief.
???Every player needs confidence and when you score two goals it lifts your confidence,??? he said.??