Wolfsburg manager Dieter Hecking described Manchester United's winner in Wednesday night's Champions League encounter as a 's*** goal', despite Juan Mata's outrageous assist to set up the strike.
The Spaniard produced a marvellous lay-off, flicking the ball behind him with his heel, over the top of the defence, and setting up defender Chris Smalling to slot home from six yards out. He had previously dispatched a penalty to equalise for the home side, which cancelled out Daniel Caligiuri's fourth-minute opener.
Hecking, however, was not impressed and labelled the goal a "scheiss-tor" in a post-match interview. "We started well and surprised United early on," the former Nurnberg coach said. "The equaliser was a penalty and again, the second goal was unlucky - as we say in German 'a s*** goal'.
Manchester United vs Wolfsburg player ratings
Manchester United vs Wolfsburg player ratings
1/11 David De Gea: 6 out of 10
Was never really tested in the match, but did well when called into action although he couldn’t do a lot to keep out Caligiuri’s early goal.
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2/11 Valencia: 4 out of 10
His struggles at right-back were highlighted in just the fifth minute after he played Caligiuri onside for the Wolfsburg winger’s opener. Was hauled off at half-time and replaced by Young.
3/11 Blind: 5 out 10
Dragged out of position by Kruse in the build-up to the opener, which allowed Caligiuri the space and time he needed to shoot past De Gea and open the scoring.
4/11 Smalling: 8 out of 10
Should have communicated better with Blind to ensure they both did not try and stop Kruse for Wolfsburg’s first goal but did well to react quickly to Mata’s back-heel pass and give United the lead with his goal.
5/11 Darmian: 7 out of 10
Demonstrated some good attacking play from his left-back position by regularly sending long-range crosses to Mata on the right and did well defensively when called upon, but came under increasing pressure after Schurrle came on.
6/11 Schneiderlin: 4 out of 10
Should have done better to stop Kruse for the opener after failing to pressurise him enough, thereby allowing the winger to set up Caligiuri in the fifth minute. Struggled after Schweinsteiger went off and was lucky not to have been sent off for his needless foul on Draxler in the dying stages of the game while already on a yellow.
7/11 Schweinsteiger: 6 out of 10
Did well to contain the threat of Kruse alongside Schneiderlin in the early stages of the game, but after picking up a yellow card, was brought off in the second half - although his departure allowed Wolfsburg’s creative players much more space to build up attacks.
8/11 Mata: 8 out of 10
The midfielder was United’s best man on the pitch. After winning a penalty with the home side trailing by a goal, Mata then calmly stepped up to the spot and slotted past Benaglio to equalise before his superb back-heel pass set up Smalling for the winner. Aside from these contributions, he regularly set up his teammates with some fine crosses into the area.
9/11 Rooney: 5 out of 10
Should have equalised in the first half, but fired Martial’s superb cross high despite being completely unmarked. The United captain spent much of the game as a bystander but superbly cleared Draxler’s second-half effort that was heading into the goal.
10/11 Depay: 6 out of 10
Was at the end of some fantastic crosses from Mata but couldn’t convert any of those into a goal. Despite not being able to get on the score-sheet, his pace caused Wolfsburg full-back Trasch many problems but his inability to make a real impact resulted in Memphis being taken off and replaced by Pereira on the hour mark.
11/11 Martial: 6 out of 10
Kept dropping to the right in the early stages of the game to find the ball and it worked as the forward got past Rodriguez time and time again. While not being able to score, he played a key role in setting up attacks.
"In the last 20 to 25 minutes we pressed them and caused a lot of problems," he added. "Julian Draxler was fouled by Morgan Schneiderlin on 84 minutes. That should have been a red card, and we might have found ourselves against 10 men for the last few minutes."
United manager Louis van Gaal, who is slowly starting to build a consistent winning side, was nevertheless unconvinced my his side's performance and believes the must improve if they are to progress far in the continent's premier club competition.
"We have to improve a lot, like all the players of Manchester United, to be at the top of Europe," said van Gaal. "We have beaten Wolfsburg, I am very happy and the players are very happy, but we have to improve on the second-half performance.
"We have to know that and I have said that also to the players. That is why we are here, to improve ourselves and to win every game."Reuse content