Manchester United

Ralf Rangnick fires message to Man Utd players about 'role model' Anthony Elanga

Tom Gott
Elanga impressed off the bench against Atletico
Elanga impressed off the bench against Atletico / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages
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Ralf Rangnick has warned his senior Manchester United players that they must step up and match Anthony Elanga's passion for the club if they are to be successful.

United put in another mediocre display in Wednesday's Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid but were saved by a late equaliser from substitute Elanga, whose 80th-minute strike cancelled out Joao Felix's header.

After the game, Rangnick did not shy away from admitting that Elanga saved the day for United and questioned why some of his senior players find it hard to match the academy graduate's energy and urgency.

"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," Rangnick said.

"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."

Rangnick has been praised for his in-game changes in recent weeks, with Elanga's goal the third in a row for United that has come from a substitute, but the boss dismissed suggestions that he was bailing the team out.

"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," he continued.

"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."

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