Herrera was brought in last summer after David Moyes tried had previously tried and failed to sign the midfielder in 2013, and endured an uncertain start to life at Old Trafford.
The Spaniard appeared to key to Van Gaal’s early plans. He started the opening game of the season and then scored in back-to-back games against QPR and Leicester but then picked up an injury that kept him out for over a month.
Fans were concerned and frustrated that Herrera started so few games and the ex-Bilbao man has now admitted he was too ambitious in the early stages for van Gaal.
“I keep my distance with Van Gaal,” Herrera said. “But he’s a good guy with a strong character.
“He likes discipline and doesn’t believe in egos in the squad. He loves possession and he doesn’t like risking losing the ball.
“At the beginning, he used to tell me off because I always looked for the ball, I wanted to have it, and I must wait for it.”
A good performance after coming on against Burnley saw Herrera get his first Premier League start in two months and ever since, he has become a regular starter.
Herrera has now grown into his role at United and as part of a midfield trio alongside Carrick and Mata has been responsible for some of United’s best football this season, much to the delight of fans.
It’s a completely new culture for Herrera and whilst he may be unfamiliar with English football on the whole, he revelled in the chants aimed at him by Yeovil Town supporters back in January.
“The last time I cried?” he was asked.
“I almost cried watching Messi against Man City. He’s so good! But anyway, I get emotional very easily.
“But hey, I get excited easily and not only with the major teams. I’m a classic man and I was delighted when we played Yeovil Town in front of 8,000 standing people yelling at me: ‘Who are you?’”
Herrera may have been out of favour under van Gaal previously but having now settled into his philosophy, he has fully embraced the Dutchman’s style and United are all the better for it with him in the side.