Smalling put in an excellent shift at Old Trafford and eventually got himself on the scoresheet after he latched onto Juan Mata’s flick.
The Englishman has garnered a number of plaudits for his displays this term, which have been getting better and better for a while now.
Van Gaal insisted Smalling’s improvement has been down to the player himself.
“When he does things, he does it all by himself. I help him with advice, demands and training sessions, and by showing images to improve him,” van Gaal said.
“But he has to be open and he has to perform on the pitch. He does everything himself. The greatest compliment you have to make is to Chris and not to me.”
Smalling will be looking to continue his good form when Man United travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal on Sunday. The 25-year-old is arguably the Premier League’s best centre-back at this current moment in time and he is finally getting the praise he deserves.