Ralf Rangnick has acknowledged that no European football may make incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag’s first season easier, but vowed to continue fighting in the last four games.
United host Chelsea on Thursday in the Premier League with their Champions League hopes all but over, sitting six points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who have played a game fewer than the Red Devils.
Rangnick’s side are sixth and just two points ahead of West Ham, with a finish lower than seventh ensuring no European football next campaign, even in the Europa League or Europa Conference League.
That is barring any alterations to qualification permutations, should Liverpool, Manchester City, West Ham or Leicester City be successful in any of their respective European competitions.
While failure to qualify for continental club football may allow Ten Hag greater time to implement his style with a less gruelling schedule, Rangnick insists United want to win their four remaining league games.
“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.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 27, 2022
A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick inspired an otherwise underwhelming United past Norwich City in their last game at Old Trafford, but the home players were greeted with discontent within the stadium.
Sections of the United faithful could be heard questioning the commitment of the players, while Paul Pogba infuriated Red Devils supporters by cupping his ears to the Stretford End following boos.
Disappointing defeats at Liverpool and Arsenal followed a 3-2 victory over Norwich, but Rangnick believes the United fans will still get behind their team against Thomas Tuchel’s visitors.
“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].”
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