Manchester United’s Rangnick: referee missed free-kick before Atlético goal


Ralf Rangnick said the referee’s failure to award a free-kick in the buildup to Atlético Madrid’s winner was decisive as Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions League last 16.

Renan Lodi’s 41st-minute strike means it will be at least five seasons since United last won a trophy. The goal occurred after a coming together of Anthony Elanga and Reinildo Mandava, with the referee, Slavko Vinic, judging there was no foul.

Rangnick said: “There were some curious refereeing decisions, I wouldn’t necessarily say decisive – maybe the one they scored. I believe it was a foul on Anthony Elanga, the referee and linesman didn’t see it that way. He [Vinic] made it pretty easy for Atlético to do their time-wasting antics and it didn’t make it any easier for us. In the second half, I don’t know if the game was played for more than two minutes without being interrupted with someone lying on the floor.”

Rangnick was asked if his players had failed to turn up for their biggest game of the season. “We didn’t score, that’s true. We played a good first half, all those things that we planned to do in the first half the team did. The only thing we didn’t achieve is to convert that energetic performance into the first goal and against a team like Atlético it’s highly important you score the first goal.

“And it’s more important not to concede a goal and we conceded just before half-time in a transitional moment.

“We shouldn’t have been 1-0 down at half-time, we were the better team in the first half. It’s important to score first – even more so against a team like Atlético.”

David de Gea was asked about United’s trophy drought. “You’re right – too many years without any trophies – that we are fighting for trophies,” the goalkeeper said. “So I think we need to be clear: that we want to achieve good things, fight for trophies, we don’t just want to play for the top four, and be there, get out of the Champions League [early]. We need much more from everyone because this club is too big for where we are now. We are far from fighting places for the Premier League and Champions League.”

At the final whistle Diego Simeone had objects thrown at him by fans as Atlético’s manager ran towards the tunnel, though he was unaware of this. “I don’t know what happened,” he said.

United will now focus on Champions League qualification via a top-four finish. Rangnick’s team are fifth on 50 points, one behind Arsenal who have three games in hand. “We must try and win most of our last nine games,” the interim manager said.

Source: The Guardian