Ralf Rangnick sends message to Man Utd players on ‘role model’ Anthony Elanga

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 succeed.

United put in another lackluster performance in Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid but were saved by a late equalizer from substitute Elanga, whose 80th-minute strike canceled out Joao Felix’s header .

After the game, Rangnick was quick to admit Elanga had saved the day for United and wondered why some of his senior players were struggling to match the academy graduate’s energy and urgency. .

“Anthony, in every game he’s played so far, just shows he’s playing with all the passion, all the fun and all the joy,” Rangnick said.

“He’s just having fun 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. That’s what he did again today .

“Not only the goal he scored, he had two or three great runs and every time he did, all of a sudden you could see that Atletico had problems with that type of play. But we have to show it in other positions as well, so not just with Anthony Elanga or one or two other players.

“We just have to play like that in every position and if we want to get 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 changes to the game in recent weeks, with Elanga’s third successive goal for United coming from a substitute, but the boss dismissed suggestions he would bail out the team.

“I don’t know if I saved it but after the performance in the first half it could only get better. What we played in the first half I still can’t believe,” he continued.

“We played without conviction, without aggression and that’s why we struggled. In the second half we did better, more possession in the areas that mattered and if we had played another 10 minutes we might have – be won the game.

“We have to play better in the first half, I was very disappointed with this performance in the first half.

“Against and with the ball we were way too apprehensive and didn’t take any risks. We only played it in our own half and then it’s difficult against a team like Atletico. Their goal was tough to defend, brilliant crossing and finishing. We need to play with more conviction on the ball, we need more deep runs and the way we scored the goal was exactly that. That’s how we we have to play against them.”

Rebecca R. Santistevan