Ralf Rangnick reviews Everton defeat
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Manchester United’s rollercoaster season took its biggest dip on Saturday with a shocking defeat against Everton at Goodison Park. Ralf Rangnick’s side slipped to an embarrassing 1-0 loss, with the result perhaps spelling an end to United’s hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four and qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Even before the match on Merseyside, United were guaranteed to end a fifth successive campaign without any silverware. When Jose Mourinho won the League Cup and Europa League in the 2016/17 season it was not viewed as much of an achievement. But five years on it is clear just how far United have sunk.
When Sir Alex Ferguson retired in May 2013, he gave an impassioned speech to thank the club for the previous 27 years and look to the future. “I wish the players every success in the future,” he said. “You know how good you are, you know the jersey you’re wearing, you know what it means to everyone here and don’t ever let yourself down. The expectation is always there.”
That final sentence now rings very true, with United’s multi-million pound squad consistently underperforming. Rangnick named a team which had Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho in attack against Everton. The quartet managed just four shots on target between them. Jordan Pickford made some impressive saves, but the home defence were not put under nearly enough pressure.
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Everton had lost six of their previous seven Premier League matches coming into Saturday’s game. They were one point above the relegation zone and had lost 3-2 to relegation-threatened Burnley earlier in the week. And yet they looked relatively comfortable in the lead and certainly more motivated.
“My retirement doesn’t mean the end of my life with the club. I’ll be able to now enjoy watching them rather than suffer with them,” Ferguson said in his farewell speech nine years ago. “But, if you think about it, those last-minute goals, the comebacks, even the defeats, are all part of this great football club of ours. It’s been an unbelievable experience for all of us, so thank you for that.
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“I’d also like to remind you that when we had bad times here, the club stood by me, all my staff stood by me, the players stood by me. Your job now is to stand by our new manager. That is important.”
It does not appear that United’s players are behind Rangnick. His interim position does not appear to have helped matters, with his departure inevitable right from the moment he came in to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November.
United have now won just eight of their 17 Premier League games under Rangnick, which means the German has the lowest win rate of any United manager in the competition. Erik ten Hag is poised to take over in the summer – but it now appears certain he will not be doing so in the Champions League next season. The club have fallen well short of the standards Ferguson set all those years ago.
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