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Man United’s Ralf Rangnick: Fourth place our ‘limit’


Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick said finishing fourth this season would be “the highest possible achievement.”

United have a Champions League round-of-16 tie against Atletico Madrid to look forward to but, ahead of Brighton‘s trip to Old Trafford on Tuesday, Rangnick said that finishing in the top four was more important.

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“We want to finish fourth in the league, this is the highest possible achievement we can get,” Rangnick told a news conference on Monday. “The Champions League, definitely we want to proceed but it’s not an easy one.

“In the league, it’s No. 4. That’s what we have to achieve and what we’re aiming at. Next season, after being here 11 weeks, I know what it takes for next season but it’s not the time now to discuss this with everyone.”

Earlier on in the week, Rangnick had said that former United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to shoulder some of the blame if the club were to miss out on a place in the top four this season.

United face Brighton on the back of three games without a win, during which they have been dumped out of the FA Cup by Middlesbrough and drawn with both Burnley and Southampton.

Rangnick, though, is convinced that despite the stuttering form, his team are improving.

“I think it’s pretty obvious the players are getting ideas across,” he said. “Now it’s about doing it sustainably for the entire game and this is exactly the next step we have to take.

“The first halves have been really good, we didn’t concede a single goal, the next step is to raise our level, stay focused, physically, mentally and tactically.

“We gave away those goals too easily, it was just too easy and it was our own mistakes we made to let the other team score.”

Rangnick will again be without Edinson Cavani against Brighton, who have recorded draws at Liverpool and Chelsea this season, while the striker continues his recovery from a groin injury.

Jadon Sancho, meanwhile, will be looking to continue his good form after scoring in his last two appearances as the winger begins to find his feet following his summer move from Borussia Dortmund.

“I’ve known Jadon since he was 17 when he still played in England, I contacted him and his agent when he was 17 and tried to convince him to join us at Leipzig but he decided to go to Dortmund and had a great time there,” Rangnick said.

“He became one of the best wingers in the league and in Europe.

“The step to Manchester United is a big one; for a 21-year-old, a massive step and it takes time.

“The style fits perfectly with his assets, coming from the left side and I try to show him and give him my support.”

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Janusz Michallik speaks about Man United’s top four hopes after their 1-1 draw with Southampton.

Rangnick also said that there is room for improvement for United captain Harry Maguire, but backed the defender to keep hold of the captaincy following his poor form.

Maguire has been at fault for goals conceded on several occasions this season, most recently in their draws with Burnley and Southampton.

“I think when he came back after his injury he did extremely well,” Rangnick said.

“In the past two games, yes he had some weaker moments, against Southampton and when we conceded the goal at Burnley, but he’s our captain and I don’t see any reason to change that.

“He’s a player who has to develop, get better, like all the other players.

“The way that we are playing now is new also to him because in the English national team he was used to playing in a back three and here at Manchester United, in most cases a back four.

“Always being on the front foot when we are trying to defend … This is something also new to him and it will also take some time for him to get adjusted to that.”



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