Diego Simeone, the manager of Atletico Madrid, praised Ralf Rangnick’s work at Manchester United before of the two sides’ match on Wednesday.
United has travelled to Madrid for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash.
The competition is the Reds’ last chance to win a trophy this season, while their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League are in jeopardy as they fight for a place in the Premier League’s top four.
Despite a general uptick in performance since the German’s arrival, there are still plenty of questions about Rangnick’s team, despite a couple of much-needed wins over the previous week.
However, before of their match at the Wanda Metropolitano, Simeone showered praise on his opponent, calling United “one of the best in the world” and saying that Rangnick has provided the club with “solidity, teamwork, and devotion” since taking over as interim manager.
“It [United] has matured into an intense, dynamic squad, with courage from midfield upwards, very good individual players, and a collective effort to put together quality,” Simeone stated in his pre-match press conference.
“It will be a challenging and difficult game, but we are pleased to be with our fans and to be able to play at home in the round of 16.”
“It’s difficult to pinpoint where they’ve made errors.
“We will always appreciate the rival’s positive attributes, and we will prepare for everything to the best of our ability, as well as find ways to harm them.”
Atletico Madrid is also fighting for a place in next season’s league, with Simeone’s team now in fifth place in La Liga.
Despite the Spanish champions’ poor season, the Argentine is optimistic that they will be able to repeat some of their greatest form against United, having defeated Osasuna at the weekend.
“I hold to the day to day, to everyday progress, to the quest for the presence of the spirit, and the other day there was a big spirit, which does not need to be stated in words since it is visible.”
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to do it against Manchester since we always compete well that way.”
Diego Simeone praises three Manchester United qualities ahead of Atletico Madrid tie