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Ralf Rangnick backs Cristiano Ronaldo to recover and lead Man United's attack against Atletico

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Ralf Rangnick insists he is ‘not worried’ about Cristiano Ronaldo’s ability to recover in time and lead Man United’s attack in crucial Atletico Madrid clash… just three days after 37-year-old netted hat-trick against Tottenham

  • Cristiano Ronaldo left the pitch to a standing ovation after scoring a hat-trick 
  • Man United beat Tottenham on Saturday and face Atletico Madrid on Tuesday 
  • Ralf Rangnick believes the 37-year-old will be fit to lead the attack at Old Trafford
  • Rangnick stressed the importance of United scoring first against Spanish side

Ralf Rangnick has backed Cristiano Ronaldo to be ready to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday night just three days after his hat-trick heroics against Tottenham.

Ronaldo left the pitch to a standing ovation at Old Trafford after starring in United’s 3-2 win over Spurs on Saturday, and Rangnick believes the 37-year-old will be fit to lead the attack against Atletico despite such a short recovery time.

‘I’m not worried he has not been able to recover,’ said United’s interim manager. ‘He’s always been a person that looks after himself quite a lot, his body. He knows exactly what to do. I’m not worried about that.

Man United interim boss Ralf Rangnick

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick at the weekend

Ralf Rangnick (L) has backed Cristiano Ronaldo (R) to be ready to face Atletico Madrid

Ronaldo was in fine form at the weekend as he netted a hat-trick in the 3-2 win against Spurs

Ronaldo was in fine form at the weekend as he netted a hat-trick in the 3-2 win against Spurs

‘If he can score another three goals we’ll see. His overall performance was good, very good and hopefully, we get this from him tomorrow.

‘But it’s not just about Cristiano, it’s about the team. It’s what we shouldn’t do. It’s what we spoke about pre-match for tomorrow’s game. We were the team on Saturday that wanted to win that game. Our supporters played a vital role and realised how much we wanted to win that game, and tomorrow will be similar.’

The last 16 tie is level at 1-1 following the first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano three weeks ago, and Rangnick stressed the importance of United scoring first against an Atletico team who are notoriously hard to break down.

‘It’s very important, even more so against a team like Atletico who don’t mind the other team having the ball,’ he added.

And Rangnick has backed the 37-year-old to recover well before facing Atletico Madrid

And Rangnick has backed the 37-year-old to recover well before facing Atletico Madrid

‘In the last five games, they had less than 50 per cent possession of the ball. We are aware of that and need to make sure we don’t concede at all, but it’s definitely important.’

Arsenal’s win over Leicester on Sunday lifted them above United into fourth place and means they can go 10 points clear of Rangnick’s side if they win their three games in hand.

Asked if winning the Champions League might become an easier way to qualify for next season’s competition rather than finishing in the top-four of the Premier League, Rangnick replied: ‘It doesn’t matter in which way we qualify for the Champions League next season, it’s what’s more realistic.

Rangnick stressed the importance of United scoring first against a stubborn Atletico team

Rangnick stressed the importance of United scoring first against a stubborn Atletico team

‘We want to try everything we possibly can and hopefully be in the last eight. But even if we do that, there are other good teams in the competition.

‘In the next two weeks we have Leicester at home. In the Premier League we should not be dropping points anymore.

‘Arsenal are in good shape. They won yesterday against Leicester and we have to look after ourselves. But tomorrow is Champions League and everybody in the squad is highly motivated. We cannot wait for kick-off tomorrow.’

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