Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin feels Manchester United are starting to silence the doubters who complained about their style of play earlier this season.
Four days after moving to the top of the Barclays Premier League with victory over Sunderland, United recorded their first Champions League win of the season, coming from behind to beat Wolfsburg courtesy of goals from Juan Mata and Chris Smalling.
Despite their strong start, United have had their critics. Former players Gary Neville and Paul Parker – among others – have criticised their style of play this term.
Neville said Louis van Gaal’s team played at a slow tempo and lacked a cutting edge earlier this season. More recently, the former United captain said he had “concerns” about the Dutchman’s management style.
Parker, meanwhile, said “The connoisseurs among the fans won’t be happy” with the level of performance shown by the team.
But Schneiderlin thinks United are starting to win over their critics.
“I do feel we are improving,” the United midfielder said.
“At the start of the season people were talking about good results and not very good performances.
“In the last few weeks I don’t hear this any more, they don’t complain about the style of play or anything and that is because we have improved.
“We can see that on the training pitch and we can see that in the games. We are much better on the ball, we are doing better things and something we play is very high quality football. But there are still some things we can improve.”
United made the worst possible start on Wednesday when they went behind in the fourth minute after Antonio Valencia played Daniel Caligiuri onside and he slotted the ball past David de Gea.
But Juan Mata won and converted a penalty to equalise before then setting up Chris Smalling for the winner with a majestic flick.
Old Trafford was a nervy place in the dying stages as Wolfsburg pushed for an equaliser. Andre Schurrle and Ricardo Rodriguez came close to scoring and Smalling admitted the final part of the match was not an enjoyable one.
“I think we made it difficult for ourselves and we could probably learn to manage and control games a little bit better in those last 10 minutes,” the defender said.
“If you drop 10 yards deeper you invite that pressure. We held on and we deserved the three points.
“Our heads could have dropped after Memphis and Mata had very good chances but we kept attacking.”