Louis van Gaal is under no illusion that the game against Wolfsburg is his most important to date as Manchester United manager.
Only a win over Wolfsburg will secure a spot in the UEFA Champions League knock-out stages. A draw may well be enough dependent on PSV’s result in Moscow but that would only secure United second spot if PSV drew or lost to CSKA, meaning a tough round of 16 match would follow.
Fans have backed van Gaal almost wholeheartedly since his arrival but there will be lots of questions asked if United fail to qualify for the knock-out stages, and understandably so.
Speaking in Germany, van Gaal said: “I think always the moment is the most important thing in this question because we have to fight also against Man City in the league or against Liverpool and for the fans they are very important. In this moment, I believe this is the most important match but only at this moment. It’s also very important for the club to continue in the Champions League also for the players because they want to show their qualities at the highest podium.”
At least van Gaal is aware of what is on the line against Wolfsburg because if United were to put in another limp performance in Germany, in what is effectively a knock-out game, then fans would be understandably angry.
Wolfsburg will be no pushover and United have certainly made it as hard as possible for themselves in terms of qualifying for the knock-outs but a win over the German side would go some way to reducing the current pressures on van Gaal.