Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone said he’s expecting Manchester United to play more of an attacking game in the Champions League round of 16 return leg at Old Trafford, and also reacted to Anthony Elanga’s equaliser.
Man United started the game on the wrong foot at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano and deservedly fell behind in the 7th minute when Joao Felix’s header left David de Gea mesmerised.
United could have been two goals down before the interval but Atleti’s second-biggest chance was denied by the crossbar.
Manchester United only began finding their feet midway through the second half after Ralf Rangnick made a host of substitutions, which saw the likes of Paul Pogba, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, and Marcus Rashford all hauled off.
The Red Devils finished the first half without a single shot on target, which definitely revealed United played more of a defensive game.
However, Simeone believes Manchester United will play with more attacking intent in the second leg at Old Trafford, thanks to the support they would receive from their fans.
‘We are in the same position as before the game started, nothing changes from yesterday or today. We’re tied,” Simeone said after the final whistle.
‘We are going to play the second leg in their home, in front of their fans, they will probably play more with more verticality and drive than they did today and they will have more aggressiveness in front of their fans, which will cause them to play at a higher rhythm.
‘They will have a higher pace, which is what they normally show when they play in the Premier League.
‘But what can be better than playing a big game at a fantastic stadium with a fantastic rival like Man United in the Champions League in order to test our level.’
Anthony Elanga, who replaced Marcus Rashford late in the game, scored the equaliser for Manchester United, with Bruno Fernandes registering his seventh assist in the Champions League this season.
Though Simeone rates the young Swedish forward’s goal as ‘clinical’, he still concedes his side could have still won the game after the equaliser.
“We started the second half in which nothing really happened and from a really good play and a really quick transition from United, they found a way to the goal,’ added Simeone.
“Maybe they found this adjustment and they showed a really clinical precision.
“And of course Antoine Griezmann hit the crossbar again and we could have won the game. But we saw a team that competes, a team that did a whole lot of good things, a team that is showing strengths and we hope that we keep doing this.”
Because the away goal rule has been scrapped off, Manchester United MUST beat Atletico Madrid if they are to proceed to the quarter-final of the Champions League.