Manchester United star Juan Mata has called on the Old Trafford crowd to play their part when Wolfsburg visit in Wednesday’s Champions League clash.
United suffered a surprise defeat at PSV on matchday one and are desperate for maximum points when they take on Dieter Hecking’s side in their first home game in the tournament proper since April 2014.
Mata believes Wolfsburg have responded well to the loss of playmaker Kevin De Bruyne to United’s rivals Manchester City, but is determined to get his side up and running in Europe after they moved to the top of the Premier League at the weekend with a 3-0 win over Sunderland.
“We know we must fix our situation in the group after losing against PSV on week one,” Mata wrote in his blog. “In order to do so we count on Old Trafford, because we are sure our crowd will celebrate being back to the top competition in Europe.
“The Germans played very well last season, and they are having a good start in this one. I have seen them in a few games and they are a dangerous team with talented players I know very well, like [Andre] Schurrle, a former team-mate.
“After Kevin De Bruyne’s exit they have made important signings like [Julian] Draxler, and they keep being very competitive.”
Wolfsburg have suffered a blip since their 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow a fortnight ago, losing 5-1 to a Robert Lewandowski-inspired Bayern Munich before being held by local rivals Hannover on Saturday, and Schurrle wants his team-mates to turn their focus quickly towards the trip to Manchester.
“We were the better team for 90 minutes and absolutely deserved to win. Sometimes in football it goes like that, though, and we didn’t make enough of the chances we had,” the Germany forward told the Bundesliga’s official website after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Hannover.
“It’s pretty tough to take but dwelling on it doesn’t help. Wednesday’s game is already almost upon us so we have to focus on that now.”
Luiz Gustavo (knee) missed the Hannover match and remains a doubt to face United, as does Koen Casteels (toe). Robin Knoche (ankle) and Vieirinha (thigh) are out.
United, who lost Luke Shaw to a broken leg in their 2-1 loss in Eindhoven, also have concerns over the fitness of Marcos Rojo (hamstring) and Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee).
Louis van Gaal’s side will aim to replicate the result from their first Champions League encounter with Wolfsburg – which was played exactly six years prior to Wednesday’s meeting – when they won 2-1 thanks to a late Michael Carrick goal.