Alex Telles says Manchester United must “show a different face” if they are to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals after super sub Anthony Elanga snatched a scarcely deserved 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid.
Ralf Rangnick’s side struggled in Spain for much of the last-16 first leg against Diego Simeone’s side, with Joao Felix’s fine header putting the hosts ahead at a rocking Wanda Metropolitano.
United floundered and their first Champions League knockout match in three years looked set to end in defeat, only for Elanga to score with their first shot on target shortly after coming on.
The 19-year-old substitute spared the Red Devils’ blushes on a night that fellow substitute Telles knows was not good enough.
“It’s obvious that the feeling is not the best because we wanted a win, actually,” the Brazil international said.
“But we are coming out of here with a great result. A good result for Old Trafford for the second leg.
“We know we are very strong at home. We need to prepare this game even better in order to try and get through to the next round.
“We are Manchester United players and we have to be the best all the time. We know of the greatness of the club.
“We know that the first half we didn’t play a proper Manchester United first half, so we knew that we had to be better in the second half.
“We are not entirely happy about the result but we know we’re coming out of here with a result that (means) we can actually go back to Old Trafford and win and go through to the next stage.
“But we know we have to show a different face in the second leg if we want to win.”
United were well below par for much of Wednesday’s first leg, lacking creativity and drive in possession until Elanga saved the day
Rangnick was full of praise for the 19-year-old after his impact off the bench in the Spanish capital, saying that some of his team-mates would do well to take a leaf out of the forward’s book.
“Anthony is a great kid,” team-mate Telles said.
“He’s always ready to learn. He’s got impressive quality and the most important thing is that he’s always ready, always willing to learn.
“He knows about his quality, he knows how far he can get.
“I’m really happy about him because he came off the bench and made a big impact on the game and obviously got his goal.”
Elanga’s goal silenced the raucous Madrid support, who had the Metropolitano shaking to its foundations when Felix met Renan Lodi’s cross with a bullet header inside seven minutes.
Sime Vrsaljko hit the crossbar late in the first half and Antoine Griezmann rattled the woodwork shortly after Elanga’s equaliser on a night that left Atleti’s goalscorer frustrated.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling,” man-of-the-match Felix said.
“We played a great game, despite not having that much of the ball. We always had control of the game, they barely created anything, but scored from the only one they had. That’s football.
“I feel good, I’m confident, we were all confident coming into this one. We want to get into the next round.
“We are all confident and pushing in the same direction in order to do the best we can in the Champions League and LaLiga.”
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