The Red Devils booked their place in the Europa League last 32 on Thursday night thanks to a 5-1 win against Danish champions FC Midtjylland in the second leg at Old Trafford.
He was the right man for United, but his time was five or 10 years ago
Van Gaal has made it through a potentially fatal week after a 3-0 win against Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday night ended a two-game losing run.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich head coach is contending with speculation linking Jose Mourinho with his job at the end of the season.
Former Liverpool defender Lawerenson has sympathy for the 64-year-old following a tough season in charge of the 20-time English champions.
“The more I look at Louis van Gaal’s situation at Manchester United, the more I think he is the right man in the right place at the wrong time,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.
“I am starting to feel a little bit sorry for him because he has been a great manager with a fabulous record, but that was yesterday and football has moved on so much.
“The days of being solid, staying in position and trying to pick the opposition off have gone. You need to have pace and the ability to tear through teams in the last third, and Van Gaal has not really grasped that.
“He was the right man for United, but his time was five or 10 years ago.”
United are in fifth place in the Premier League table and six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.
The Red Devils host Arsenal at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
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