Rangnick wishes some United players would follow Elanga's example
Anthony Elanga rescued a Champions League last 16 first leg draw off the bench for Manchester United last night.
Until Ralf Rangnick started making changes, it was a flat, nervous United performance which looked like ending in defeat.
But with his first touch, Elanga raced onto a Bruno Fernandes through ball and changed the balance of the tie on the biggest night of his career so far.
Elanga is fearless right now and Rangnick said after the game that he wishes more United players would follow the Swede’s lead.
“He is playing as if a dream comes true. He is just a joy and it’s fun to watch him play,” said Rangnick of Elanga, as per the club website.
“I wish a few other players would take him as an example, or almost as a role model I would say, not because he is doing everything right, but because he’s just enjoying himself on the pitch and that’s what it’s all about.
“Football is an important sport and even more so for our supporters or for the media, but it’s still a ball game and you have to enjoy yourself on the pitch. This is what I wish us to do when we play them again in a few weeks.”
At his post-match press conference, Rangnick added: “He is fully aware of his strengths and his weapons and he is always trying to show them. Not only the goal, he had two or three more great runs. When he did that, you could see Atletico had problems with his approach.”
Rangnick did not name any names in terms of other United players he wishes were playing with less fear and with more happiness.
That said, it might not be too much of a stretch to think that Marcus Rashford, the man Elanga replaced, would be one of them.
Rashford looks inhibited and nervous, playing well below his best. Paul Scholes thinks Rashford is trying too hard, but in truth, the underperformance has been going on for a while, before Rangnick took over.
The England international struggled in the latter part of last season. It was thought at the time it was down to injury, but he had his surgery last year, initially coming back well before fading to the level he is at now.
Fitness can no longer be blamed, so perhaps getting back to enjoying his football is what Rashford needs, and Elanga could be a good example to follow in that respect.