Manchester United won’t ‘give away’ remaining games this season
Ralf Rangnick has accepted that Erik ten Hag’s first season as Manchester United manager may be easier to navigate without European football, but insists that will not stop his team trying to finish as high in the table as possible.
United look set to miss out on the top four and a place in the Champions League while any finish lower than seventh will see them drop out of Europe altogether.
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That would free up the schedule and afford Ten Hag more time with his players on the training ground, but Rangnick says he wants to win the remaining four games — even if it means qualifying for the Europa League or Europa Conference League.
“It could be an advantage, but that does not mean we will give away any of the remaining four games,” Rangnick told a news conference on Wednesday. “For us it’s clear and our obligation. This is our job, my job, the job of the players that we try to get the best possible results and then see at the end of the season in which position we will finish.
“Now to speak about if that would be an advantage or not does not make sense because if I did that then this would be interpreted again.
“For me it’s important we get results, that we play as good as we possibly can, because this will also affect the atmosphere and mood for the new season.”
Ten Hag has been appointed on an initial three-year contract at Old Trafford, but won’t take up his role until after the conclusion of Ajax’s conclusion season on May 15.
Rangnick has revealed he is yet to speak to the Dutchman but says he is available to talk if Ten Hag chooses.
“His focus is on Ajax now and trying to win the title now,” said Rangnick. “My focus is on our club and getting the best possible results. Whenever he has time or would like to speak I’m available, but I would not want to contact him on my own account right now.”
Rangnick is preparing his players for Chelsea‘s visit to Old Trafford on Thursday, a game they must win to keep their faint top-four hopes alive.
United’s players faced a backlash from supporters during the last home game against Norwich City, when a section of the stadium began singing “you’re not fit to wear the shirt.”
Heavy defeats at Liverpool and Arsenal have followed, but Rangnick is hopeful the home fans will get behind the team.
“I think in both away games the fans have still been supporting the team and also against Norwich,” said Rangnick. “There was that one issue with Paul Pogba, but apart from that I think the supporters were great also in the game against Norwich. I hope and also expect our supporters to be behind the team and supporting the team [against Chelsea].”