The youngster managed to score twice on his debut against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League and then scored another double a few days later in the 3-2 victory over Arsenal.
Van Gaal insists he deserves credit for placing his faith in the teenage striker rather than it being written off as simple luck.
“[The young players] want to prove and they want to show to the world, to the manager, to everybody, that they are the best, so they always give spirit to a team,” van Gaal said.
“That is why we have decided not to invest in January and I have said that already two months ago, but you don’t want to believe it. The policy is to have a small selection and then you can give youngsters a chance.
“Now I have read that Rashford is saving me. No, no, Rashford is thanks to my policy, and the club, of course, [and he] has proved that.
“He is there because of that and the same thing for [Cameron] Borthwick-Jackson, [Guillermo] Varela and a lot of other players.
Yes and no Louis. You’d have been given far more credit had you not called Will Keane back from loan during our major injury problems as it would have been your choice. Rashford only played against FC Midtjylland due to a lack of alternative and he needs to put his hands up and say that.
What he did was create the circumstances for it to happen by creating a smaller squad. You can understand why lots of fans were so angry we didn’t fully replace key players who left but there is definitely a positive in how good an impact some youngsters have had, including Rashford.