MANCHESTER: Louis van Gaal says he was surprised by the support he received from Manchester United fans during his difficult first few months at Old Trafford.
United endured their worst start to a season since 1986-87 as the Dutchman took 13 points from his first 10 games.
The Red Devils have not lost for nine matches since then and Van Gaal says he is indebted to the supporters.
"I'm thanking the fans because they were very important in my first six months," he said.
Van Gaal was confirmed as a permanent successor to David Moyes in May 2014 but the team struggled for form despite spending £149m in the summer transfer window.
United won three, drew four and lost three of their first 10 league matches this season and were 10th in the Premier League after the 1-0 derby defeat by Manchester City.
Van Gaal said the backing he has received at Old Trafford contrasted starkly with his experience at some of his former clubs.
When asked what had surprised him most since taking the job, the 63-year-old said: "The club. The fans.
"I have never had the experience that when you lose or draw at home the fans are still applauding for you, showing their belief in you. Never.
"In Barcelona, the white handkerchiefs. In Bayern, whistles. In Amsterdam, Ajax, they are shouting.
"Here, they are applauding - stand up and applaud. Unbelievable."