Manchester United battled back after conceding a fourth-minute goal to grind out a hard-fought 2-1 victory over VfL Wolfsburg at Old Trafford on 30 September, the English sides first Champions League win of the season. There was huge pressure on United after they lost to PSV Eindhoven in their opening Group B match two weeks ago and their night got off to the worst start when Daniel Caligiuri opened the scoring for the well-drilled visitors after some poor defending.
United, who came from behind to beat Wolfsburg 2-1 exactly six years ago to the day, followed the same script with Juan Mata equalising with a 34th-minute penalty, while defender Chris Smalling proved to be the unlikely match-winner when he slid in to score his first goal of the season after 53 minutes.
United manager Louis Van Gaal, who said before the match United had to win all of their home games to have any chance of making it through to the last 16, said his team still have to improve despite some good play. He was pleased that a penalty was awarded for a handball by goalscorer Daniel Caligiuri of Wolfsburg, giving Juan Mata the chance to equalise.
There are some referees that are not whistling for such a foul so then you are lucky that they are whistling. In the first half I was very pleased with my team because I think that we played very well. Not the first four or five minutes of course, but when you can do that when you are behind and you create so many chances and so much open chances but you dont finish it then that is unlucky. I have said that already sometimes you need also luck. In the second half we continue with our game spirit and we make a beautiful goal I think but after then it was not good any more, van Gaal said.
We have to improve and we have to know that, I have said it also to the players. Because that is why we are here to improve ourselves and that we win every game. Today we have won but it could have been also in a better way I think. I think we deserved to win, because we created more chances than Wolfsburg in the end when you count all the chances.