Speaking to the BBC after the game, Van Gaal revealed his delight that United have risen to the top of the table for the first time in his 14 months in charge.
However, it’s the first time Mata has experienced being on top with United and he expects the players to “fight” to stay there.
Asked if he was proud of returning the club back to the top of the Premier League, the Dutchman replied: “Of course, of course. I am not interested, although personally for Rooney, Depay and (Anthony) Martial, it’s very important”, van Gaal added.
United face a tough encounter against rivals Arsenal in their next League fixture on Sunday. “I have a few friends in the team, especially Dante, so I’m looking forward to seeing them“.
The arrival of Anthony Martial has been a blessing for the 29-year-old, particularly given that he struggled playing the lone striker role prior to the signing of the French worldwide.
It was a major slip up and United needed to win to make sure they capitalised.
And Van Gaal feels his relentlessness is paying off, with United now top of the table for the first time under his management.
“The Premier League is a very hard league”. Then you have to play again mid-week in the Champions League and that is the difference between all the clubs in Europe.
“What I say on Friday is also the same now”.
City lost for the second week running, this time at White Hart Lane where Harry Kane opened his account for the season with Spurs’ third goal.
Van Gaal was quick to acknowledge that the former Monaco man – like the rest of his team mates – can continue to improve. “Last year, when we had 13 points from 10 or 11 matches, we had to chase and, at the end of the season, we finished fourth”, said the United manager.