Every word from Rangnick's press conference

Friday 25 February 2022 13:15

Ralf Rangnick addressed questions from the media this Friday lunchtime, ahead of Manchester United's Premier League match against Watford on Saturday 26 February (15:00 GMT).

United go into the weekend's game off the back of two good results. A 4-2 victory away at Leeds United last weekend in the league was followed by Wednesday night 's 1-1 away draw at Atletico Madrid.

Rangnick spoke about the latter game again, as well as discussing the strengths of Saturday's opponents Watford and the Hornets' vastly experienced manager Roy Hodgson. 

Read every word from the German below...

Match preview: United v Watford


As our attentions return to the Premier League and Saturday's visit of the Hornets, here's all your key info.

When we spoke to you previously, you were asked about the Champions League final and you hoped it wouldn't have to get moved. It has now been moved amid a dire situation [in Ukraine]. What are your thoughts on the movement of the game and obviously the situation itself?
"I mean, the situation itself is desperately sad. I think everybody will think similarly about that, this is just an incredible situation that we have a kind of war within Europe. And therefore, I think the decision that UEFA took was inevitable and it was the right decision."

The game on Wednesday finished in a good way for United. I don't know what your thoughts on the overall performance might have been but given Arsenal's win last night, how important is it you maintain the momentum that you've built now and beat Watford and keep up the pressure for fourth place?
"Yeah, it's very important, but this is the case with almost every game we had to play and will be playing in the future. We have to keep the momentum, win tomorrow against Watford, and then be ready for the upcoming games afterwards against the top teams. So, yes, we are fully aware that we have to win the game tomorrow."

I wonder what your relationship with Roy Hodgson is like. Is he someone that you've met down the years at events?
"Yes, we met quite a few times in the past, not in the last two years but before that. I think we haven't played against each other as far as I remember with teams but we know each other and I'm looking forward to shaking hands with him before and after the game."

What sort of an impact do you think he's had at Watford? How different do they look now compared to a few weeks ago?
"Well, in his first two-and-a-half games he played in a 4-4-2, like he used to play with his former clubs. They changed in the third game at half-time and since then are playing in a 4-3-3 like they did under [Claudio] Ranieri. So, the style of football is similar, I would say. They have three fast, physical strikers, always looking for the transitional moments, playing pretty direct. So this is their biggest threat and we have to be aware of that, we have to avoid any transitional moments for them and be stable in defence and at the same time create as many chances as we possibly can with our own offensive department."

90 in 20: Atletico Madrid 1 United 1 Video

90 in 20: Atletico Madrid 1 United 1

Set aside 20 minutes to watch the extended highlights of our Champions League last-16 first leg in Spain...

Sorry to go back to the Ukraine situation again, but you obviously worked in Moscow. How anxious a week has it been for you - maybe getting in touch with former colleagues to see how they are over there?
"Well, yes, but I think everybody has the same opinion about what's happening. This is just a human disaster that's happening there for all the people involved. Right now, as far as I can tell, the situation in Russia and Moscow is still safe but this doesn't change anything about the whole situation which, as I said, is desperately sad. When I watch TV in the morning or in the evening, I still cannot believe what I see there. This is just a terrible situation and I very, very much hope that the politicians all over the world can help to de-escalate the situation and finish with those kind of things that are happening there."

I know you don't like looking any further than the game that you have in front of you, against Watford, but could March be the defining month of the season for you?
"Well, it could, but, as you said, for us, it only makes sense to take one game after the other. Now the job is to fully recover from the game the day before yesterday and play at the highest possible level tomorrow at home and hopefully win the game against Watford. And then we have a normal week to prepare for the derby against Manchester City."

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Are you any clearer about why your team played as they did in Madrid on Wednesday evening, and also, while we're talking about Madrid, were you aware of the song that the supporters were singing for Anthony Elanga. Do you know the words and are you aware that the original song is from Germany?
"Yes, I know, and of course, everybody could hear them singing that song, 'Rhythm is a Dancer'. Yes, I know that song. It's nice for the boy and it shows how creative our supporters are. But I also must say, although the headlines were quite logically in his favour, it was not only him. I think in the second half, we changed the momentum, we regrouped, the whole team. It was not only him but also the other players and other subs, including Nemanja Matic who helped to change the game. In the first half, as I said, we were just too cautious in possession, too passive, too static when we were in possession of the ball and we made it in those first 45 minutes too easy for Atletico to always try to put pressure on us and that's why we had only a very few of those moments that we could challenge them at the back. This changed in the second half and that was one of the major reasons why we were able to equalise and, at the end, even with another five or 10 minutes to play we might have even won the game. In the end, it was about the result. The result was good, I think leaves us all the chance in the world to proceed to the next round, without saying that it makes things easier. This will be a tough game to play in three weeks. But now our full focus is on the Premier League and tomorrow's game against Watford."