Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick is keen to show his side can compete with the best teams in Europe when they take on Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
United drew the first-leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie 1-1 in Madrid as Anthony Elanga cancelled out Joao Felix’s opener.
Rangnick’s side head into the game on the back of a valuable 3-2 Premier League win over Tottenham thanks to a superb Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick.
Speaking to the media ahead of the clash, Rangnick was asked if he was worried if 37-year-old wouldn’t be able to recover for Tuesday nights fixture.
“I’m not worried that he’s not been able to recover, he’s always been a person that looks after himself and his body, He knows what to do. If he can score another three goals, we will see. It’s not easy to score three goals against this team at all.
“His overall performance [against Tottenham] was good, if not very good, and this is what we hope to see from him again tomorrow night.”
The German was also keen to not put all the burden on Ronaldo, hoping his team would learn from their poor first-half showing in Spain.
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“It’s not just about Cristiano, it’s about the whole team, we saw in the first half in Madrid, what we shouldn’t do, how we shouldn’t play and this was a big topic for us yesterday and today, pre-match before tomorrow’s game.
“We have to know what it takes and tactically takes and the rest is about energy.”
Rangnick also spoke about the importance of the Champions League.
“For us it’s more about our own sporting ambition. We are highly ambitious, we want to proceed, we want to show that we can compete with the best teams in Europe and therefore we will try everything to win the game tomorrow.”
Winning the Champions League this season could be the only way they guarantee qualifications for next seasons competitions with Arsenal the current favourites to finish in the top four but Rangnick is urging his side to just focus on winning games.
“It doesn’t matter which way we qualify for Champions League next season. The question is what is most realistic. Tomorrow is Champions League and we’ll try everything we possibly can to win the game tomorrow to be in the last eight.
“Even if we manage to do that, there are other good teams in the competition. In three weeks, we have the next Premier League game against Leicester at home and we will still try to push to win the next games in the league.
“We are fully aware we shouldn’t be dropping points anymore. Arsenal are in good shape. They won again yesterday.
“We need to look after ourselves and win our games in the Premier League. Tomorrow, it’s a different competition, it’s Champions League and everyone in the squad is highly motivated.”
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