Champions League: Five things we learned from Manchester United's loss against Wolfsburg
United needed nothing but a win in Germany to progress to the knock-out stages and in the end it was too late for the English giants.
New Delhi: Manchester United allowed Wolfsburg to get back twice in quick succession after scoring as Louis van Gaal's side bowed out of the Champions League Group Stage.
United needed nothing but a win in Germany to progress to the knock-out stages and in the end it was too late for the English giants. Wolfsburg won the match 3-2 as United finished third in Group B behind PSV Eindhoven and will now ply their trade in the Europa League.
United went ahead with Anthony Martial scoring in the 10th minute but Wolfsburg was quick to equalise with Naldo scoring a supreme volley. The German side went 2-1 up by half an hour in the game and went on to win the tie 3-2 in the end.
Here are the five things we learned from the match.
United's defence allow Wolfsburg victory: This was by far United's worst performance in the back line after allowing Wolfsburg to score at will. Gaal who has built a strong unit defensively, looked sleepy and dodgy at the back. Lack of organisation and leadership at the back cost United dearly who also had two youngsters playing at full backs to show inexperience.
Wolfsburg attacking quartet stun United: Wolfsburg looked like a team with more intensity and impetus than their opponents. The German side's fast counter-attack and brilliant one-touch passing was too hot for United to handle who allowed Wolfsburg to score immediately after getting goals themselves. Naldo's two goals were perfect example of horrific United defensive approach.
ALSO READ: Critics round on `humiliated` Louis van Gaal
United's midfield lacked teeth: Gaal started with experienced Bastian Schweinsteiger as the defensive midfielder and the German had a terrible night with the manager to criticizing him later. Bastian led to Wolfsburg's second goal after losing the ball in a mix-up with Memphis Depay. With Marouane Fellaini advancing forward, Bastian failed to hold up the midfield like his yesteryears where he bossed it.
United's attacking youth mesmerizes: United's youthful attack comprising Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Memphis Depay showed glimpses of a promising future after impressing on the night. Martial scored a superb goal from a Juan Mata through-ball as Memphis asked Wolfsburg's keeper some questions. Academy product Lingard troubled Wolfsburg with his pace and also had a goal disallowed despite the referee first giving it.
Gaal's tactics surprise on important night: With already having several key players in the injured list, United lost Matteo Darmian (hamstring) and the manager introduced Borthwick-Jackson, rather than experienced Ashley Young. Paddy McNair was ignored too in the right back. Also Bastian's poor performance should have seen Michael Carrick make an entry to the pitch much earlier rather than on 70th minute.