The 25-year-old midfielder spent last season on loan at Aston Villa before returning to Old Trafford this summer where he was warned by van Gaal that perhaps he should find a new club.
Everton came in for Cleverley and snapped him up on a free when his Red Devils contract expired at the end of June but the 13-time England international has no hard feelings regarding his exit from United.
"He (van Gaal) told me straight how it was going to be and fair play to him for that," said Cleverley.
"He's very honest and that's all you can ask for from a manager. I thought it was time for me to move on anyway last summer.
"He said: 'I'll be signing a midfielder or two, so your playing options might be a bit limited'."