Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has confirmed that Bruno Fernandes has proved his fitness for the clash with Atletico Madrid.
United face the La Liga side in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie at Old Trafford on Tuesday. The Red Devils claimed a 1-1 draw in Spain, despite the hosts dominating for the most part.
Indeed, substitute Anthony Elanga claimed a massive second-half goal for Man Utd to take back with them.
United head into Tuesday’s clash following the thrilling 3-2 win over Tottenham on Saturday. Cristiano Ronaldo stole the show with a hat-trick at Old Trafford.
His Portugal comrade Fernandes missed the match, but Rangnick has confirmed that Luke Shaw is now the only fitness doubt.
“As it is right now, we have all the players available for the game,” the manager said. “There is a small question mark behind Luke Shaw. He has been training today and yesterday, but we will see if he is fully fit.
“All the other players are available for tomorrow.”
Asked if Fernandes had returned a false positive coronavirus test, Rangick added: “Yesterday he tested negative and that’s the reason why he could train today.”
Rangnick referenced Spurs boss Antonio Conte’s comments about the Old Trafford crowd being a key factor in Saturday’s result.
Rangnick said in his assessment: “Quite like in the game against Spurs, we need both our players and our supporters to be on top form tomorrow night.
“Our supporters play a vital role, it’s always a very special atmosphere, even more so in international games.
“In the end, they can be our 12th and 13th player on the pitch and make the difference. In the end, it’s up to us to create those moments.”
Rangnick reveals Man Utd game plan
The away goals rule has been scrapped in the Champions League this season. United therefore cannot hope to rest on Elanga’s goal, which was nevertheless crucial.
Rangnick said of United’s game plan: “It’s very important [not to concede the first goal], especially against a team like Atletico.
“They don’t mind the other team having the ball. In the last five games they played, they had less than 50 per cent possession. We are aware of that and we need to make sure that we don’t concede at all.
“It would definitely be important to score the first goal ourselves.”
Ronaldo is back in a goalscoring mood and Rangnick insisted he has no concerns about the short turnaround for the 37-year-old.
“I’m not worried that he has not been able to recover,” the German said. “So far, he has always been a person who looks after himself, his body and he knows what to do.
“If he can score another three goals we will see. It’s not so easy to score three goals against this team at all.”
Atletico have history of knocking English teams out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage. They dumped Liverpool out with a 3-2 win at Anfield in 2020.