Manchester United defender Chris Smalling was surprised to see captain Nemanja Vidic sent off against Otelul Galati but praised the way 10-man United fought to put their Champions League campaign back on track.

The Serbian defender was dismissed mid-way through the second half, after Wayne Rooney had given United the lead from the penalty spot.

Milan Perendija's sending off a minute from time eased United's fears of slumping to a third successive draw, with Rooney tucking away a second penally to secure the club's first win in the group phase.

"I saw the incident from behind," Smalling said. "I didn’t expect the red card. Referees are sometimes more harsh in Europe but I’d have to take another look at it [on TV, to judge it properly].

 

"I think for the first five minutes after we went down to ten men it was a bit frantic but then I think we started to settle down again and control the ball again. Luckily we saw the game out."

Despite the inferior opposition, United toiled in Bucharest, and required two Rooney penalties to guarantee the three points, a win that according to Smalling puts the side on course to qualify for the round of 16.

"It was a difficult game. We thought they were going to be hard to break down and they were just that tonight," added Smalling. "We knew we had to be patient. There weren’t too many chances in the first half but we kept pressing and it paid off. We started to penetrate more in the second half and luckily we got the two goals.

"It was great work from Wayne, in and around the box. He and Chicharito were causing problems and with Galati clocking up yellow cards, it was inevitable we would penetrate closer to the goal."

"That was a massive game for us tonight. When we play Galati at home next, if we can get another three points then it will look a lot more rosey than it did a week ago."

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