Van Gaal dismisses personality assumptions
The Dutchman, fresh from leading Netherlands to the last four at the World Cup, was presented to the media on Thursday at the beginning of his Old Trafford reign.
Having won silverware with Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Ajax and AZ, Van Gaal is expected to bring success back to United.
While Van Gaal acknowledged having a "strong personality", he dismissed the prevailing notion in sections of the media that he was dictatorial in his style.
"I'm a democratic, empathetic human being and of course I have a strong personaility [but] the other characteristics are more important," he added.
"That's the key for my personality."
On the suggestion of being autocratic, he added: "[It is] unfair, because the media want to show that part of my personality. That is a small part. When you repeat that, everyone thinks like that.
"I'm always the same person. From 39, when I was head coach of Ajax, until now the personality has not changed. It's the same.
"A strong personality is not the same as autocratic. I have a strong philosophy. Sir Alex [Ferguson] was also confirming his strong personality when he won a lot of titles.
"I hope I can do that or at least start with that philosophy."
After Ferguson's trophy-laden era came to an end last year, David Moyes was appointed as his successor but only lasted until April 2014.
With Van Gaal bidding to restore the club to its former glory, he revealed Ferguson had spoken to him about the appointment, while also adding his desire for former players Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville to remain in coaching capacities.
On whether he was daunted by looking to emulate Ferguson, he said: "Of course, he called me to congratulate me and we have spoken about [having] a cup of coffee.
"We were always fighting in the elite competition of UEFA but we always had a glass of wine.
"Nicky Butt is assisting us, Scholes we shall find a role for him but also for Phil Neville I believe. That's what we want.
"It has to be also possible and that we have to look into. We have also to adapt qualities to these people. We have to speak with them about that personally."