After being held to a share of the spoils against Arsenal at Old Trafford, Arsene Wenger’s side can now secure a final position of at least third in midweek when they take on Sunderland.
Third place would bring the advantage of going straight into the Champions League group stages next season, avoiding the play-off round.
United face relegation-threatened Hull City on the final day of the season and Van Gaal says that a club of United’s stature need to be aiming higher but, after last year’s seventh, is satisfied for now.
The Dutchman said: “We have to play in the round to qualify because we have not yet qualified for the Champions League.
“It’s always stressful because you can meet an opponent who is halfway through their season already and we will have just started the season.
“We have set our goal. My board is satisfied, the fans are satisfied. It is amazing when you are fourth and the fans are clapping for so long. I had never that experience at my other clubs.”
Ander Herrera took advantage of some sloppy marking to hand United the lead but Theo Walcott’s cross flew in off Tyler Blackett’s leg and the match ended 1-1.
“You can say we are unlucky because it is the third goal in a row that is deflected and falls in our net but I have said to my players, ‘No it is not unlucky’,” said Van Gaal.
“You have to force your luck because you have to finish these games. We were better than our opponent for an hour. After that, when you see Arsenal wants to come back you have to play more compact and not as open as we have done. It???s very important to finish the game and this season we have only finished two games.
“When you are three goals ahead it???s easier, but when you are just one goal ahead you have to finish the game. It???s a pity because, in spite of a lot injuries, again we were one hour better.”