Sir Alex: Rafael showed his class
Sir Alex says Rafael da Silva’s performance at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night proved just how far the Brazilian has progressed in recent times.
Real Madrid targeted United’s right-hand side in the first 45 minutes and, by the United manager’s own admission, the young defender struggled to cope with the Spanish side’s attacks.
What’s more, Rafael was left treading a disciplinary tightrope when he was booked on 40 minutes for hauling down Mesut Ozil on the by-line.
The Daily Telegraph talked of Rafael being “tormented by a succession of white-shirted matadors”, claiming the 22-year-old “must have felt as though he had strayed into the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, Madrid’s most historic bullring, rather than the Bernabeu”.
Sir Alex, speaking to MUTV, insists he never considered taking Rafael off at half-time and, sure enough, after the interval it was a different story.
Cristiano Ronaldo, so impressive in the first half, failed to reach those same heights as Rafael proved why Sir Alex believes he can be the Reds’ right-back for the next 10 years.
“Obviously Rafa had a trying first half but he coped well in the second half. He calmed down.
“He’s a very impetuous boy. He’s enthusiastic and wants to win every ball and, of course, he committed himself far too early on a lot of occasions.
“In the second half, he was back to the form he has shown all season and he did really well. For a young boy to recover like that says a lot for him so that was pleasing to get that second-half performance out of him.”