Ralf Rangnick has sounded a note of caution following Manchester United’s 4-2 win against Leeds at Elland Road, warning his players that they “cannot afford to drop any more points” if they want to secure a top-four finish this season.
Having gone in 2-0 up at the break thanks to goals from Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes, Rangnick’s side were pegged back early in the second half when Rodrigo and Raphinha scored in quick succession. While the visitors came under intense pressure in the aftermath, they weathered the storm and won the game via goals from two of Rangnick’s substitutes in Fred and Anthony Elanga.
With top-four rivals Arsenal and Tottenham both winning on Saturday, Rangnick came into the game knowing that only three points would do. The Red Devils remain fourth as things stand, four points ahead of West Ham in fifth and Arsenal in sixth though, worryingly for Rangnick, the latter have three games in hand.
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Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, the former RB Leipzig coach admitted that Saturday’s results only made the win more precious. “We have to win most of the games that we have to play in the future, we are fully aware of that,” he said.
“If we want to finish fourth in the league, we cannot afford to lose and drop any more points. Even more so when you’re 1-0 or 2-0 up, which is why this was a massive win today.”
Despite their second-half wobble, Rangnick was delighted with the way his side responded to salvage the game. “I think it was a fantastic game to watch if you were not responsible as the manager for either of the two teams,” he said.
“I think [it was a] very good first half, after the first 15 minutes we really had control of the game and could have been 3-0 or 4-0 up. Within two minutes, it was a completely different situation and atmosphere in the stadium.
“I think their first goal was a little bit lucky for them, I don’t think he intended to shoot the ball like he did, but, again, after two minutes it was all of a sudden 2-2 and then the five minutes after that was really very intense and very difficult for us.
“I think the team showed maturity, I think we’ve grown together as a team. I’m not so sure if this [result] would have happened two or three months ago, but it happened today and it was important.
“I think we showed a reaction in the last 20 minutes and, in the end, we deserved to win.”
Asked whether he gained extra satisfaction from two of his substitutes scoring to seal victory, Rangnick shrugged off the opportunity for self-praise. “It’s easy to say that afterwards,” he said.
“I think we needed that intensity. Paul [Pogba], I wouldn’t say he was tired, but he was a little bit tiring out, which is normal after his long injury break.
“With Fred and Anthony Elanga we had two energetic players on the bench. That’s why we decided to make those subs pretty early.”
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