Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United were dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid on Tuesday evening, meaning their wait for a major trophy has entered a sixth year
Ralf Rangnick was not happy with referee Slavko Vincic after Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid on Tuesday evening.
Renan Lodi scored a controversial first-half header – with United players insisting Anthony Elanga was fouled in the build-up – to secure a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford. Atletico players were accused of timewasting at Old Trafford, yet only two of them were booked.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Rangnick was keen to vent his frustration with the referee’s performance. United’s defeat to Atletico means their wait for a major trophy has entered a sixth year – despite re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo last summer.
“It was hard in the second half and always interrupted,” said the German coach, alluding to Atletico’s timewasting. “There was always somebody lying on the floor. I would also say some curious refereeing decisions.”
When pressed on the referee’s display, Rangnick added: “I wouldn’t say they were decisive but at least he fell too often for those time-wasting antics and four minutes at the end added on was a joke for me.”
Rangnick was then asked about Lodi’s goal, to which he replied: “That was a foul for sure on Anthony Elanga but the referee and the linesman didn’t see it that way. For me that was the only real moment, and the offside goal, that they scored with. Apart from that, we defended well and we were compact in their transition moments. There is nothing I can blame the team for in the first half.”
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United boasted 60 per cent possession at Old Trafford and had five shots on target but couldn’t get the better of an inspired Jan Oblak in the Atletico goal. “I think we played a very good first half – exactly the way we wanted to play with a high energy level but we couldn’t convert that into one or two goals,” said Rangnick.
“We had a few good moments where we should have scored but we didn’t. Conceding that counter-attacking goal just before half-time didn’t make life any easier… a very good first half and the second half was difficult to find the rhythm again.
“We know they are good at defending leads. We had one or two moments in the second half and there was a brilliant save from the goalkeeper. We were fully aware that against this team you need to score the first goal yourself.”
United are currently fifth in the Premier League, one point behind Arsenal in fourth having played three games more. On whether they can close the gap on the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, Rangnick said: “It’s now too early [to discuss that].
“We still have another nine games to play in the Premier League. We will try to finish off this season in the highest possible level. We want to qualify for the Champions League again and we’re fully aware that to do that we have to win most of those nine games.
“Right now to think about how we can close the gap to the top teams is too early. My focus is on finishing the highest possible level with this team then it is time to speak about other things.”
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