Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has warned his team that they need to be more clinical in front of the goal to have a chance of winning the Champions League following his team's 2-1 win over Wolfsburg on Wednesday (30 September). The Red Devils are currently equal on points with all the teams in Group B, which also includes PSV Eindhoven and CSKA Moscow.
The Dutch manager was pleased with his team's overall performance to get their first win in the Champions League, but admitted that it was tough to sit on the bench and see his team fumble chances and concede possession to their opponents in the second-half, especially since they were protecting a slender one-goal advantage.
"Of course, because you shall win the Champions League when you are clinical and when you can finish the game much earlier. We had the chances to do that in the first half, or to keep the ball in the second half. We didn't do that and I was suffering on the bench, but the fans were also suffering and I have to admit the players were also suffering. But they continued with the team spirit," Van Gaal told United's official site.
"We didn't give too many chances away, only for Andre Schurrle, and we also had two chances on the counter-attack. But I am very happy. We must win the game and we are first in the group with the goal average of three together," he added.
The former Bayern Munich manager credited his team's first-half performance, but claimed they dropped a level in the second-half, which led to the manager making changes at the break. Ashley Young replaced Antonio Valencia, while Memphis Depay and Bastian Schweinsteiger were also replaced midway through the second-half.
Van Gaal was sympathetic towards his players following the win, and said that they are suffering due to the hectic schedule in recent weeks, which has seen them play in the Premier League, the Champions League and the Capital One Cup. However, there is no respite in sight as the 20-times English champions are set to travel to London for a crunch clash against arch rivals Arsenal on Sunday 4 October.
"In the first half we played very well but we didn't finish our chances, and that was our problem. Only from the penalty that we got off this referee could we score. It was 1-1 at half-time but we created chances to be 3-1 ahead. Then you have to continue and we did [score the second goal], but only for the first 15 minutes, I think," the Red Devils manager stressed.
"After the goal it was transforming our team, because we didn't keep the ball anymore and I didn't see Wolfsburg pressing so much, so we gave the ball away. We did it by ourselves because the players are tired and the accumulation of the matches is very high in England."
"The last five matches we have kept the ball fantastically in our possession and now we couldn't do it anymore. We have to recover, recover and recover because Sunday is Arsenal and they played yesterday, so they have one more day of recovery," Van Gaal explained.