Van Gaal is known for his combative style following stints in charge of Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, with countryman and Southampton boss Ronald Koeman accusing the Dutchman of striking fear into his players.
Former Netherlands international Willem van Hanegem was also scathing of Van Gaal, after slamming the United manager for mistreating assistant coach Ryan Giggs, loanee Radamel Falcao and winger Angel Di Maria.
However, Van Gaal told United's official television channel that is adaptable both on and off the pitch.
"I am a very flexible man," the 63-year-old said. "[People] are always thinking I am a boss, maybe a dictator. I am not like that. I am a very flexible man. My wife does know that.
"You have to evaluate and adapt to the culture of the club. The way I work here with Manchester United is different to the way I worked with Bayern Munich or the Dutch national team.
"There are lot of aspects in my philosophy I shall stick to, but a lot I shall change and it can only change because of the members of my staff or my players. They can change my thoughts. We have to wait and see how many aspects I have changed after one year."
United - fourth in the Premier League - return to action on Saturday, with lowly Aston Villa making the trip to Old Trafford following the international break.
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