The result meant Man United leapfrogged Manchester City into third in the Premier League, although Manuel Pellegrini’s side have a game in hand.
With Liverpool also losing against Arsenal, it left many fans confident of securing Champions League football next season.
However, van Gaal is taking nothing for granted when it comes to the ‘rat race’ of finishing in the top four.
Speaking after the Villa game, van Gaal said: ”We are still not certain about Champions League qualification – it is still a rat race.
“But we have given a blow to Liverpool and Southampton also lost. It is a big gap. now we have to wait to see if the gap is too big for Tottenham too. But we have to play the top three – it is still a rat race.”
Van Gaal may well be coy about his side’s chances but it would be very hard to imagine them throwing away their top four spot now.
Instead, fans are looking up at the table with a growing confidence that United could finish second come the end of the campaign. If the team manage to secure a win against City in their next game, they may well do just that.