Ralf Rangnick

Read Ralf's pre-match interview

Tuesday 08 February 2022 10:00

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick says although Anthony Elanga missing a penalty in the Emirates FA Cup was a 'cruel' moment, it will help him in his development as a footballer in the years to come.

Ralf mused on defeat to Middlesbrough during his pre-match interview ahead of the trip to Burnley in the Premier League.

However, he was also keen to focus on the positives of that game, including Paul Pogba's return from injury.

Watch the video and read the full Q&A below, which ends with the German comparing a Burnley striker to a former United rival in Ian Rush...

'Our focus is on the league and Champions League' Video

'Our focus is on the league and Champions League'

Rangnick emphasises the need to move on from Friday’s game in his matchday Q&A, as attention turns to Burnley away…

Football can be a cruel game, I can’t believe how we didn’t win the [Middlesbrough] game with so many chances. You’ve looked at it again so what are your thoughts?
“Yeah, the more we watched those opportunities, those chances, that we didn’t make use of, we wasted, the more incredible and cruel it became. Until yesterday, it was still difficult for everybody involved in the club to cope with it. In the end, this is football. This is what happens. In the end, it was us who turned it into a cup tie, in all respect of Middlesbrough, they did what they intended to do but, in the end, it was just us making sure we did not proceed safely. We should have safely proceeded into the next round. It could easily have been 3-0 at half-time, it should have been 3-0 at half-time but, at the end, by wasting those chances, we turned this game into a cup game. The second thing is maybe, in the end, we have to fault the team for is the behaviour before the handball goal we conceded. We did everything right in a perfect counter-pressing situation, halfway into their half, we just forgot to take the ball away from them. We did all the other issues that are necessary for counter-pressing, we closed down, took away time and space from them but, in the end, forgot the ball. It gave them the chance to change sides and, in eight seconds, all of a sudden, we’re down in numbers in our own box. Those are two issues we should have done better but, in the end, it doesn’t help. We are out of the cup, even if we watch these situations another couple of times. Now the focus has to be on the league and the Champions League.”

It is a cruel game to miss a penalty but everyone rallied around Anthony, which was heartwarming on the day. Have you seen a recovery in him since and is he more over that situation?
“Yeah, as far as I could see in training, he was okay. Of course, it was a difficult moment for him. In the last four weeks, he’s now experienced both sides of this beautiful game. He did extremely well in the past couple of weeks and scored a vital goal at Brentford. Now, in the cup, he’s also experienced negativity and how cruel football, at times, can be. It will definitely help him in his development in the next couple of months and years. Again, for us, we have to draw a line under the FA Cup. We’d love to still be part of this competition and go as far as we could have got. It’s over and now tomorrow, it’s Burnley.”

We were impressed with the first-half performance in particular but also overall and John O’Shea said it was one of the best first halves he’s seen this season. He was also praising Paul Pogba, who did well, so what are your thoughts on Paul?
“Yes, I think he did well. Originally, I didn’t intend to let him play 80 minutes but, due to the chronology of the game, we decided to have him on the pitch until 10 minutes from time, before being replaced by Fred. I think he did well. He hasn’t played for two and half, almost three months, it was his first performance after such a pretty long time. I think he did really well. We are all happy to have him on board for the upcoming games.”

Ralf's press conference: Part 1, Burnley (a) Video

Ralf's press conference: Part 1, Burnley (a)

Get ready for Tuesday's match at Turf Moor by watching the first half of Rangnick's press conference...

In the wide positions, we have Jadon, Marcus and Anthony who can play on both flanks so how is it decided in the games and mixed up before and during a match?
“Yes, it’s always competition. We now have, in the current squad, in each position, we have two players to compete for each position. No matter if it’s right-back, centre-back, 6s, 8s, two central strikers and the wingers. We currently play most of the game with a 4-3-3 with one holding 6 and two 8s and, as I said, in the wing positions, we also have, for each side now that Jesse is going to stay, two players and it’s up to them. In the end, it’s up to the players to decide who plays by the quality of their performances in training and in the games.”

How is the team news for Burnley shaping up?
"Yeah we have two players missing. Alex Telles already missed the cup game because he tested positive last week. And unfortunately the same thing happened today to Fred, that’s why he will be missing tomorrow’s game and possibly even the game against Southampton. Those things happen and that’s why its even more important to have a player like Paul Pogba now available again."

Ralf's press conference: Part 2, Burnley (a) Video

Ralf's press conference: Part 2, Burnley (a)

In part two of his press conference, Rangnick discusses player contracts, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Elanga & more...

Burnley made a good signing in Wout Weghorst – you know him so what sort of a player is he?
“Yes, he looks with his size, a little bit like Ian Rush, for example, but he’s a very technical player. Due to his size, he is also physically present but he’s not that much of a physical target striker. He is more of a technical player. Also, he had good times at Wolfsburg when Oliver Glasner was head coach, he did extremely well and scored quite a few goals. Hopefully, tomorrow, he won’t score. He played against Watford and I obviously watched that game on TV. I thought he was a good signing and one of the best possible signings to replace [Chris] Wood.”

It’s another classic football ground for you to visit…
“I think I was there a couple of years ago to watch a home game of Burnley but, officially as head coach, it’s a first game, yes.”