Ralf Rangnick highlights Manchester United’s major weakness after Atletico Madrid loss

Ralf Rangnick says Manchester United lacked physicality in their Champions League loss to Atletico Madrid.

United were relegated to a fifth trophyless season with a 1-0 second leg loss to go 2-1 on aggregate in the round of 16.

Rangnick barely concealed his dislike of Atletico’s stubborn style during his post-match press conference and particularly criticized Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic for facilitating Atletico’s time-waster. The caretaker manager felt United were at a disadvantage to break Atletico’s ‘wall’ after they were beaten 1-0 by Renan Lodi’s 41st-minute goal.

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When it was suggested that United were “naive”, Rangnick replied: “I don’t know what you mean by naive. Against a team like Atletico, who are champions of that style of football, it’s not not easy. You have to break through This wall somehow. We don’t have the most physical teams to break down the walls. You need physicality and in the second half it was difficult.

“We brought in all the attacking players we had on the bench to score the equalizer but it was difficult against that wall of players.”

United will not play again until April 2 against Leicester in the first of their last nine Premier League matches. Arsenal play two of their games in hand this week against Liverpool at home and Aston Villa away and could move seven points ahead of already fifth-placed United.

Arsenal host United on April 23 – four days after United played Liverpool in their rearranged game. “It’s unusual not to play a single game in two and a half weeks,” Rangnick said of the March schedule. “Especially in this league where you play every three days.

“We have 85 per cent of the squad on international duty, with most of them returning on Tuesday and Wednesday (before the Leicester game), so three days to prepare for the Leicester game.

“In the league the situation is quite clear, we have to win most of those nine games. Of course we have to win at Arsenal, but the only way to finish fourth at the end is to win most of those nine games.

“It wouldn’t be bad if they dropped points at some point, but for us the only thing we can do is win as many games as possible and we are fully aware that the games we have to play are really difficult.

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“Of course the next three games at home against Leicester, at Everton and at home against Norwich, we have to get the nine points if possible.”

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