Rangnick sets Reds a winning challenge
Ralf Rangnick wants a pre-Easter winning sequence in the Premier League to set Manchester United up for a shot at Champions League football next season.
Following the huge disappointment of being knocked out of Europe by Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford in the last 16 of the Champions League, after a 1-0 defeat, our interim boss now turns his attentions to the battle for a coveted top-four spot in the league.
The Reds will have to lick our wounds for nearly two-and-a-half weeks before we can get our teeth into the campaign finale.
United are currently fifth in the division and in a five-club fight to get into the top four, which would ensure competing at Europe’s top table again next season.
Arsenal are fourth, at present, with a point advantage and three games in hand on us. One of these is against Liverpool on Wednesday.
West Ham United, Wolves and Tottenham are also in contention.
It is a nine-match do-or-die mission for the Reds which includes a crucial match against rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium at the end of April.
Before that match, United will have to build a 100 per cent platform against Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday 2 April at 17:30 GMT, away at Everton on 9 April and then another home game against strugglers Norwich City on the Saturday of Easter weekend.
“In the league, the situation is pretty clear. This nine games, we will have to win most of them,” Ralf told a pos- match press conference after the defeat by Atletico Madrid.
“For sure, we have to win against Arsenal. The only way to finish fourth, in the end, is to win most of them.”
Asked if the Reds now need help from others slipping up, particularly the Gunners, he said, “Yes, it would not be bad if, at one stage, they drop points but, for us, the only thing we can do is make sure we win as many games as possible.
“We are fully aware that there are some really difficult ones, in the Premier League there are no easy games, for sure.
“The next three games are at home to Leicester, away to Everton and home to Norwich. We have to get all nine points if possible.”
After the Norwich match, United then travel to Anfield for a re-arranged fixture against Liverpool on Tuesday 19 April, five days before the trip to London to play Arsenal. The Emirates clash now kicks off at 12:30 BST.
Then comes a final month of matches in May against Brentford at home, Brighton away, Chelsea at Old Trafford and a visit to Crystal Palace on the final day of the 2021/22 season.