Robson points to an advantage over Atletico

Tuesday 14 December 2021 12:05

Manchester United hero Bryan Robson has pointed to a possible advantage in next year’s much-anticipated Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid.

Ralf Rangnick’s men were initially paired with Paris Saint-Germain in Monday morning’s draw, but a technical problem prompted a dramatic redraw which then pitted us against Diego Simeone’s team.

The first leg will take place at the magnificent Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Spain on Wednesday 23 February, before the return fixture is held at Old Trafford on Tuesday 15 March. 

United are away from home first as a reward for winning Group F and Robson is convinced that is beneficial to Rangnick’s Reds, as he explained during our latest episode of The Debate.
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“When you go into a game like this one, I am really pleased we have got the away game first,” says Bryan. “Otherwise, it would have been difficult, just because of the mentality. 

“If they got a 0-0 at Old Trafford first then you'd go to their place and they'd really fancy themselves, whereas now, if we can get a good result over there, they have got to play differently over here.
“The lads will be looking forward to it, but this is a totally different game to playing PSG, who are very attack-minded. Atletico are probably one of the best clubs in the competition for getting really well organised, being really difficult to break down and Simeone does have them really well set up. 

“It will be a tough game for the boys and a different type of game to PSG. But I still feel we have got enough in our squad to go on and get through the tie.”
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While Atletico are clearly one of the best teams in the competition, they hold no fear for Robson who believes the United players must relish the opportunity to make a statement in Europe.

Of course, Bryan became a legend for carrying the fight to the opposition and famously produced one of his greatest performances in the 1984 European Cup Winners’ Cup tie against Barcelona. 

Captain Marvel states the players must be ready to “scrap” against a Simeone side that is known for fighting to get results.

“This is what it's all about, playing against some of the best teams in the world, the best players, and the first thing you have got to do against anybody is win the scrap. 

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Learn more about our Champions League last-16 opponents, including previous meetings between the clubs.

“If you are winning first balls and most of the second balls, then you can go and play. But if you don't scrap then you will always get beaten in these games, so the lads have got to be up for a scrap. 

“The thing for me is that by the time we get to these games in February, Ralf will have had a lot of time to be working with the players so they are spot on. When they go into this game, they will know exactly what their roles are in the team.”