Great managers often earn their money during half-time team talks. This time it was Manchester United’s Ralf Rangnick’s against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League last 16 on Wednesday.
While it was only a 1-1 draw in the first away leg, there is no question that the late equaliser felt like a Red Devils win, thanks to the right boot of substitute Anthony Elanga.
Despite a few bright moments, the first half certainly did not belong to United. Something had to change during the second half and Rangnick knew it as he began his team talk during the interval.
“Well, I told them this that is just not enough. We need to show more energy, we don’t need to speak about game plans or any tactical moves or tricks,” Rangnick said at the post-match press conference.
“It’s all about conviction and being present on the pitch and believing what you’re doing, if the other team has got the ball or we are in possession ourselves. This is just not enough, it’s Champions League.
“The team fought all of last season to qualify for the Champions League and in the knockout you have to show and commit yourself to the demands.
“We did it after 60 minutes, with every substitution that came on our game was raised, our level of performance, and in the last 15 or 20 minutes we played exactly how I expected us to play from the start,” the German concluded.
Meanwhile, Rangnick’s United are now training to take on English Premier League strugglers Watford this weekend.