Manchester United head back to Old Trafford for the second leg in the Champions League Round of 16 on level terms with Atletico Madrid thanks to a late equalising goal by Anthony Elanga. The manager, Ralf Rangnick, had nothing but compliments for the young Swede, who has been labelled a “role model” by the interim boss.
Anthony Elanga was the star of the show for the travellers while Atletico Madrid’s Portuguese prodigy was the hero for them on the night. Joao Felix drew first blood against visitors Manchester United in the opening seven minutes of the first leg.
United dug deep and kept the deficit to one goal but at the same time struggled on the other end of the pitch and were wasteful with their limited chances to even the odds. Ralf Rangnick had to look to the bench for answers and fund the solution to be the player with the best attitude.
Elanga was brought on as a 75th-minute substitution by the boss and within five minutes of being on the pitch, he put his mark on the game with the leveller, which has now swung the momentum in United’s favour as they head back to the Theatre of Dreams with the score reading 1-1.
Ralf Rangnick believes some of the Manchester United squad should be taking notes
Thanks to a brilliant impact on the results after barely even touching the ball, Ralf Rangnick was somewhat not surprised the player delivered on the night.
His exceptional mindset on the training pitch is what sets him apart from the rest according to the manager and others need to follow suit and look at the young 19-year-old as a role model.
The Manchester United manager on Anthony Elanga:
"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.Anthony, in all the games that he has played so far, just shows that he’s playing with all the passion, all the fun and all the joy. He’s just enjoying himself on the pitch and he’s fully aware of his strengths, his assets, his weapons. He’s always trying to play and show those weapons. This is what he did again today.Not only the goal he scored, he had two or three great runs and whenever he did that you could all of a sudden see that Atletico had problems with this kind of approach. But we have to show that on other positions as well, so not only with Anthony Elanga or one or two other players.We just have to play like that on every single position and if we want to proceed to the quarter-finals in a couple of weeks at Old Trafford we have to play exactly like that. (Via: skysports.com)"
Yes, by all accounts, United were lucky to walk away with a late goal. If they play anything like they did at the Wanda Metropolitano when they meet Madrid in Manchester, it’s fair to say they can forget about qualifying for the next round of the Champions League.
However, it’s been a decent run for the English side — almost outstanding. Since the German took over, the club has only lost once in 16 games — and since losing that single outing — they’ve now gone 10 games unbeaten.
Next up for the Red Devils is a visit from relegation fodders Watford; their opponents come off the back of a humiliating defeat against Hornets’ boss Roy Hodgson’s former club, Crystal Palace 4-1.
Ironically, the last meeting between United and Watford saw a shocking result with them beating United 4-1 under the former boss, Claudio Ranieri. Anthony Elanga has certainly forced his name into the manager’s plans for the weekend.