Ralf Rangnick says Cristiano Ronaldo is not a terrifying monster as he accepts responsibility for Manchester United’s poor season

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Ralf Rangnick has admitted responsibility for Manchester United’s bad performance this season, adding that he should not have anticipated a club led by Cristiano Ronaldo to press aggressively.

When Ralf Rangnick took over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November, he wanted to introduce a high-octane style of football at Old Trafford, but he couldn’t come up with a viable Plan B when it became evident that the current roster wasn’t up to it.

United have lost five of their past six away games and must beat Crystal Palace tonight to guarantee a sixth-place finish (a Europa League spot) and escape relegation to the Europa Conference League next season when Erik ten Hag will be in charge.

“We never came close to that aggressive, pro-active football I’d ordinarily want to do,” Rangnick said. 

“We never came close to playing the aggressive, pro-active game I prefer. If you want to play like that, it has to do with physicality. I should have done a better job of developing this team over time. I’m not blaming Cristiano for anything. He performed admirably in games, but he is not a terrifying monster. Even when he was young, he wasn’t shouting, The other team has the ball, where can we win balls?

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“It was the same with quite a few other players, so we had to make compromises at one stage. We never found the right balance between what we needed with the ball and without the ball.”

Ralf Rangnick will be the Austrian national team manager next season but will continue to work as a consultant at United.

With Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, and Jesse Lingard all departing, he believes Ten Hag’s appointment will at least offer United an indication of what type of player they require in the summer transfer window.

“If you look at Erik’s Ajax team or his Bayern Munich Under 23s team, it’s clear how he wants to play and what kind of players he requires. There will be adjustments”, Rangnick said.

“I believe it is evident to everyone, including the owners and fans, that we need to improve and boost the level of quality within the squad.”

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The fact that qualifying for the Europa League is now the goal shows how far United has fallen.

United are now in sixth place which qualifies them for Europa League, two points ahead of West Ham, although their goal difference is worse. The ‘reward’ for finishing seventh is a place in the Conference League.

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