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Atletico Madrid may have given Man Utd team news away with several big names missing | Football | Sport


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Atletico Madrid underwent a training session on Monday morning ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League tie against Manchester United – with Diego Simeone excluding a few key stars from a starting XI that may indicate his decision for the crunch clash in the Spanish capital.

United qualified for the first knockout round after finishing top of a group that contained Atalanta, Villarreal and Young Boys, whilst Atletico finished second in a group containing Liverpool, Porto and AC Milan.

The Red Devils have been in decent form recently, having not lost in the Premier League since January 3 – although there have been a multitude of draws in that period.

Atletico will have drawn up plans to combat their lack of goalscoring prowess, given that they themselves have not been in good form recently.

Having been knocked out of the Copa del Rey and floundering in fifth in La Liga – a huge 15 points behind rivals Real Madrid – Simeone will be looking to change his lineup for the better.

And the Argentine has reportedly dropped key figures such as Luis Suarez from the starting XI he practised with on Monday morning.

A report by AS claims that the reigning Spanish champions trained with a five-back formation, as opposed to their usual 4-4-2 setup.

Angel Correa and Joao Felix started in attack, which may mean that ex-Liverpool striker Suarez will be demoted to the bench.

Elsewhere, loan signing Antoine Griezmann, Yannick Carrasco and Koke, who have all been regulars in Simeone’s team down the years, were also not present.

United manager Ralf Rangnick praised his team for their character in the 4-2 away win against bitter enemies Leeds United on Sunday.

Goals from Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes in the first half alongside strikes from Fred and Anthony Elanga in the second half put their opponents to the sword, after two goals in 24 seconds from Leeds cancelled out United’s early 2-0 lead.

“As far as I know, it was since April so almost a year and nine months [since United last scored from a corner],” Rangnick told Sky Sports.

“It was a great goal, a good delivery and a free header from Maguire [but] the most important was the reaction we showed after the equaliser.”

“A fantastic game to watch if you are not a manager of the two teams,” added the 63-year-old.

“It was a very good first half, we had control of the match. We could have been three or four-nil up. Within two minutes it was completely different. Their first goal was a bit lucky for them.

“After two minutes it was 2-2 and the five minutes after that were really intense and difficult for us. We showed maturity as a team. I’m not sure this would have happened two months ago but it happened today, we deserved to win.”

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