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Man Utd are one of the best teams in the world right now, says Atletico Madrid boss Simeone

11:42 GMT+3 23/02/2022
Fred Manchester United Leeds 2021-22
The Argentine has been impressed by the impact Ralf Rangnick has had at Old Trafford over the past three months

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has insisted that Manchester United are "one of the best teams in the world" right now ahead of their last-16 Champions League tie.

United will arrive at Wanda Metropolitano for the first leg on Wednesday night on the back of a confidence-boosting 4-2 victory at Leeds.

That result saw Ralf Rangnick's side tighten their grip on fourth place in the Premier League, and Simeone is expecting a tough test for his team in front of their own fans.

What's been said?

The Red Devils struggled for consistency in the first half of the season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but Simeone is wary of how far they have come in a short space of time under Rangnick.

"We're facing one of the best teams in the world in the last 14 games, if I'm not mistaken," the Argentine told a pre-match press conference. "They've just lost one. With the new manager, Ralf Rangnick, it's given the team solidity, teamwork, commitment.

"We can see what Manchester United was always like. They've evolved since the new manager arrived, they're already fourth in the league.

"It's an intense, dynamic team, very brave, with very good forwards, very good footballers overall and who try to make a huge effort to try and unite the huge talents they have in 11 players.

"It's going to be a very difficult game, as every Champions League game is. But we have a lot of anticipation to play in our stadium in front of our fans and we're lucky to play the last 16 at home because we couldn't play that, we couldn't do that last year."

Rangnick's impact at United

The Red Devils have played a total of 15 games across all competitions under Rangnick to date, posting eight wins, five draws and just two losses.

A 1-0 home defeat to Wolves and a penalty shootout loss to Middlesbrough in the fourth round of the FA Cup are the only black marks on the interim manager's record so far, with United now looking a more solid, well-rounded outfit.

Simeone has been impressed by the changes Rangnick has managed to implement, but he will have his own plan ready to try and breach their stubborn rearguard in the Spanish capital.

"The team is much more compact, it's stronger," the Atletico chief added. "They have a solidity at the back, they're a very physical team with the central defenders and the midfield they've got.

"They are really strong and it's really, really difficult to find vulnerabilities there. I always assess the virtues of our rival, but of course, we will try to find a way to try and hurt them, try and find our way to the goal, if you like."

Further reading

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