Rio Ferdinand criticises Man Utd star despite fightback in Atletico Madrid draw
Rio Ferdinand criticised Manchester United and Bruno Fernandes despite the Red Devils’ fightback against Champions League rivals Atletico Madrid.
Anthony Elanga scored a late equaliser as Ralf Rangnick’s side secured a 1-1 draw with Atletico in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico made a dream start to the fixture, with Joao Felix heading home Renan Lodi’s inviting cross after just seven minutes.
The Spanish side looked set to take a big step to the Champions League quarter-finals as they largely frustrated United, but Elanga’s late goal has given the Premier League giants major hope ahead of the return leg at Old Trafford on March 15.
Ferdinand was pleased to see his former club leave Madrid with a draw but admitted United’s performance was ‘poor’ and said Fernandes had a bad game despite his late assist.
‘Look, Man United would have taken that result before the game,’ Ferdinand said on BT Sport. ‘But they were lucky tonight.
‘They were poor in the way they played, the first half was really poor. But when you talk about football at this level you often ask, “can you weather the storm and stay in the game?”
‘For as bad as United played, David de Gea didn’t have much to do. You wanted a better performance but at least they’ve got a result.
‘Elanga pops up at the end there with a goal and Bruno gets his assist, as bad as he played up until that point.
‘Overall, United will be getting on that plane home tonight thinking they’re well in it. There’s some positives to take.’
Elanga, meanwhile, said it was a ‘dream come true’ to score for Manchester United in the Champions League, after becoming the club’s fifth-youngest European goalscorer following Wayne Rooney, Mason Greenwood, David Beckham and Phil Jones.
The 19-year-old said: ‘I have dreamt of moments like this, scoring in the Champions League against top European teams like Atletico Madrid, a dream come true.
‘It is only first half, we have to be ready for the second half at Old Trafford.
‘I told you how calm and cool I am and whenever I am given a opportunity I want to repay the manager and give 150% every time I step onto the pitch.
‘I just do what I can do, I want to be the best player on the pitch and I appreciate the boss.
‘You’ve got to stay in the game, anything can happen. We did not play the best in the first half, but improved after the substitutions in the second half.’
More to follow…
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