Rangnick ‘cannot believe’ Man Utd first-half showing vs Atletico

Jason Soutar
Ralf Rangnick shakes hands with Raphael Varane

Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick has slammed his side’s first-half performance as they rescued a late draw against Atletico Madrid.

The Red Devils found themselves behind early in the Spanish capital after Joao Felix headed in for Diego Simeone’s side.

Manchester United eventually rise to the Atletico challenge

Super sub Anthony Elanga scored late on to rescue a draw for United, however, who will take a 1-1 scoreline back to Old Trafford for their Champions League second leg.

On the performance, Rangnick told BT Sport: “I don’t know if I rescued it but after the performance in the first half, it could only get better. What we played in the first half I still cannot believe. We played without conviction, without aggression and that is why we were struggling.

“Second half we did better, more possession in areas that mattered and if we played another 10 minutes we might have won the game. We have to play better in the first half, I was very disappointed by that performance in the first half.

“Against and with the ball we were far too apprehensive and did not take any risks. We only played it in our own half and then it is difficult against a team like Atletico. Their goal was difficult to defend, a brilliant cross and finish. We have to play with more conviction on the ball, we need more deep runs and the way we scored the goal was exactly that. This is how we have to play against them.”

On goalscorer Elanga, Rangnick added: “He is playing as though it is a dream come true, it is a joy and fun to watch him play, I wish a few other players would take him as an example and as a role model. Football is an important sport, even more so for the supporters, and it is a ball game. This is what I wish us to do especially in the second leg.

“To start with, we could do with him (Victor Lindelof) in aerial duels, set-pieces, free-kicks for and against us. All three centre-halves were in good shape, but after seven minutes we were 1-0 down the plan was in the dustbin. I knew this was not his best position, when we had Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the ball and Alex Telles, we had more possession and more assistance from the wings. In the end, due to the early goal it was difficult.

“In the second half we showed in quite a few moments how we have to play. It will be different at home in front of 75,000 fans and more conviction than we did in the first half.”