Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Paul Scholes brands Man Utd star ‘lucky’ as mood takes U-turn after huge praise for Atletico moment

Paul Scholes, BT Sport pundit

Paul Scholes dampened the mood on Manchester United’s late equaliser against Atletico Madrid following huge praise elsewhere for Anthony Elanga.

United looked second best for large parts of their Champions League last 16 first leg on Wednesday. In fact, they were on the back foot immediately when Joao Felix put the hosts in front after seven minutes.

However, the Red Devils kept their deficit to one goal. Interim boss Ralf Rangnick then threw on in-form forward Elanga from the bench in place of Marcus Rashford. The 19-year-old Swede made an instant impact last Sunday when securing United all three points against Leeds United.

And he made his presence felt immediately again, combining once again with Bruno Fernandes – as against Leeds – to net a crucial equaliser for Man Utd away from home.

On BT Sport commentary, Robbie Savage labelled it a “fantastic finish”. Fernandes found Elanga’s run in behind and he cut the ball back across Jan Oblak’s goal, the ball trickling into the left corner.

Savage did claim that Oblak had come “miles too far across” his goal, but insisted that Elanga was nevertheless “cool and calm”.

But Scholes told BT Sport after the match: “We even think the finish is a little bit lucky, you can question the goalkeeper.

“He does get a little bit of drag on it. If you look from behind the goal the keeper just falls backwards and the ball is nowhere near the corner of the net.

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“It’s more towards the middle. The keeper should do better.”

Rangnick will not care about the manner of the goal, given his side’s performance before the goal. Indeed, the manager admitted in his immediate post-match comments that he still could not believe the display.

And his trust in young forward Elanga will have increased following the striker’s goal.

The goal was Elanga’s third this season and second in successive appearances.

Elanga lauds “first touch” goal

Anthony Elanga celebrates in between Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho

“I think it was my first touch as well!” the teenager said when asked about his goal.

“It’s a dream come true. I have dreamt of moments like this, scoring in the Champions League against top European teams like Atletico Madrid.

“I told you how calm and cool I am. Whenever I am given an opportunity, I want to repay the manager and give 150 per cent every time I step onto the pitch.

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“I want to be the best player on the pitch and I appreciate the boss. He said to me to make the defenders scared and run in behind and when I get the opportunity to take it.”

United return to action on Saturday when facing Watford at Old Trafford in Premier League action.