Dieter Hecking revelled in Wolfsburg’s thrilling victory at home to Manchester United, insisting the Germans deserved to win and reach the knockout round.
Wolfsburg topped Group B and sent United crashing out of the Champions League following a 3-2 win on Tuesday.
Hecking and Co. overcame an early deficit as Naldo and Vieirinha cancelled out Anthony Martial’s 10th-minute opener before half-time.
A Josuha Guilavogui own goal offered United a lifeline with eight minutes remaining but their hopes were dashed two minutes later after Naldo netted his second.
The dramatic contest sent Wolfsburg into the last 16 for the first time and, speaking post-match, Hecking said: “Congratulations to my team: they did a lot of what we had planned. We saw a great game, with everything at stake today.
“I would have liked us to take the lead with that chance we had, but then we had to stomach them scoring the first goal. But it was good we equalised quickly and then we had a great goal for 2-1 and could have got a third.
“We had a bit of luck at times, but you need that when you are playing a quality side like Manchester United. I would have liked us to have been a bit more clinical with some counter-attacks, and when Louis van Gaal sent on two players who are good in the air, and I knew it meant only one thing. But we deserved to win and deserved to reach the knockout rounds.”
Wolfsburg’s achievement is even more remarkable, given the departures of star duo Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) and Ivan Perisic (Inter) in the off-season.
Hecking added: “We knew it was not going to be easy [after losing De Bruyne and Perisic] and we’d need time to get back on track, and I think we have deserved some criticism.
“We’ve won all of our home games in the Champions League and you’ve got to do that if you want to go through – but this was not about atoning for what happened in the Bundesliga at the weekend [losing to Borussia Dortmund].
“When I see who came second in their groups – Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Benfica – they are big teams, but we are also good and we’ve sent a message to the Champions League tonight. We’ve got to take it as it comes. We have a chance so we want to take it.”