Disjointed Man Utd stumble out of Champions League
Louis van Gaal's side will play in the Europa League after a deserved defeat to Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg 3 Manchester United 2
Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday night with a 3-2 defeat to Wolfsburg, which sees them drop into the Europa League round of 32.
United have been heavily criticised by fans and former players of late for their low-risk style of play which has seen them grind out a number of draws and narrow wins, but came out with a more expressive style against their German opposition. Unfortunately the plan backfired.
Louis van Gaal's side shipped as many goals in 90 minutes at the Volkswagen Arena as they had in their previous nine games in the competition, the raw attacking trio of Anthony Martial, Memphis Depay and Jesse Lingard failed to make the most of their increased supply of chances.
Van Gaal admitted after the match that he was disappointed with the result, but insisted that his side "fought for the win, but with ten men at the end we couldn't do more than what we have done."
United took the lead after just 10 minutes through Martial, but Naldo and Vieirinha hit back swiftly to leave United staring down the barrel of defeat and elimination with just half an hour played.
The picture for qualification in the group changed a number of times during the closing stages of the night, with CSKA briefly taking the lead at PSV Eindhoven – a result which would have meant that United qualified whatever their own score line.
A late flurry of goals left both games level with less than 10 minutes remaining before Naldo scored his second of the night to break United hearts, Davy Propper applied the finishing touches by grabbing a late win for PSV to complete United's miserable night.
Things had fallen apart even before that final goal though, with The Guardian's Daniel Taylor noting that Van Gaal's side "finished with Nick Powell, a midfielder with one appearance in three years, playing in attack and a centre-half, Chris Smalling, also pushed forward, limping because of a groin injury. It was a mess."