Ralf Rangnick insists Manchester United are obliged to finish the 2021/22 campaign as well as possible, regardless of how likely the team is to qualify for the Champions League.
The interim manager pointed out that qualifying for the Champions League will remain possible while it is still mathematically in reach, even if he admitted that the home draw with Leicester City was “disappointing” as a late winner proved elusive for the Reds on this occasion.
Rangnick also discussed Luke Shaw’s condition after being withdrawn at half-time, Harry Maguire’s performance and backing from the supporters, and the choice he had to make between Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, when speaking to MUTV and Sky Sports after the game…
“I think the second half was the better one, we were struggling in the first to start with, to find our rhythm, possibly because of that long break and most of the players were on international duty. As I said, the second half was better but then giving a goal away in our transitional moment we had ourselves didn’t make life easier. I think our reaction after that goal we conceded was good, it was okay. We came back, scored a goal and then in the last 15 minutes had two or three good moments when we could have scored the winning goal but we didn’t. In the end, we are not happy with the result but I think, overall, the second half was okay.”
“With regards to the result, obviously we had hoped for three points but if you look at the whole game in total, the whole 95 minutes, I think that was a fair result. Both teams could have scored one or two goals more but if you look at the whole game, the result was fair.”
STARTING WITHOUT A STRIKER
“The only one we had on the bench was Marcus [Rashford]. Knowing last night or at the latest this morning that Cristiano [Ronaldo] could not play, we had to decide between playing Marcus as a striker to start with, or in midfield with Paul Pogba. We decided to start with Paul Pogba. In the second half, after 60 minutes, we made that change and we had a central striker on the pitch. It’s no secret Marcus was not full of confidence in the last couple of weeks. He was training with us and in training he was looking well but as I said, that was the question yesterday between Paul and Marcus, and we decided to go with Paul.”
REACTION TO 1-0 DOWN
“After conceding the goal, the reaction of the team was good. I couldn’t say that they didn’t try and even in the last 15 minutes, we tried with all we could to score a goal. In this game we didn’t score that late goal like we did in the game against West Ham or Tottenham. But as I said, we don’t have that many offensive players any more.”
LINGARD WAS ILL
“Jesse Lingard was on the bench but he couldn’t play because he felt sick in the last one and a half weeks. He was feeling extremely bad before the game so we only had him on the bench as a formality actually, so all the offensive players we had were on the pitch at the end.”
CHANCES TO WIN“We had our moments after [Fred scored], the same as they had, with the disallowed goal that was a foul on Rapha Varane but still we had to wait for the VAR to intervene. In the last 15 minutes, we had our moments, Jadon should have taken two touches in that situation at the far post and also Anthony Elanga if he’d stayed away from that ball, Marcus would have probably scored or maybe it would have been a penalty. We had our moments but we didn’t score, we were not in a situation like West Ham and Tottenham where we scored a late goal. There was the header from Harry after the corner. I think we could see that the boys were trying to win that game but in the end we have to accept how hard it is to accept that this draw was a fair result.”
“He played at the same kind of level that he played against Tottenham. That was a really good, solid performance by him, both in offense and defence, and the reaction of the fans here was as expected.”
“As long as it is possible mathematically, it is possible. But no matter how likely it might be, it’s our job and our duty, for ourselves and our supporters, for everybody, to do our very best to finish off the season on the best possible note. That means now preparing for an away game at Everton, to try to win that.”
BUILDING A PICTURE FOR THE NEXT MANAGER
“The picture for me is pretty clear. Not only now but also a couple of weeks ago, and internally, we spoke about that already but there is nothing else I can say at this stage.”