Ralf Rangnick is under no illusions about the rift between Manchester United and Manchester City after a derby defeat that prompted former captain Roy Keane to accuse the players of throwing in the towel.
There was a party atmosphere around the Etihad Stadium on Sunday as Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions ran amok against their neighbors and reclaimed their six-point lead over second-placed Liverpool.
Kevin De Bruyne scored either side of a fine equalizer from Jadon Sancho in a frantic opening period, giving way to a pie-walk in the second half as City stepped on the gas and United retreated into their bowl.
Riyad Mahrez scored twice to earn a 4-1 win that prompted Gary Neville to call his former club a ‘disgrace’.
“They gave up and are ashamed of them”
Roy Keane didn’t hold back Manchester United’s second-half performance during their 4-1 loss to Manchester City 👇 pic.twitter.com/afLZMnQd3m
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 6, 2022
When asked what he thought of the character and attitude of his players in the second half, interim United boss Rangnick said: “Honestly I didn’t get the impression that they didn’t try.
“But it’s difficult against a team like Man City, once you’re down 3-1 (vs) the best team in the world in possession, it’s difficult.
“I can’t blame anyone for not trying and throwing themselves into this game, but after the third goal it was difficult.”
“After 28 games you are as far away from any team as the table shows,” said Rangnick when asked about the difference in quality to City after this embarrassing defeat.
Asked how far the interim boss sees United behind City, the German said: “22 points.
“The second half showed that you can hardly keep them from their own goal with momentum and a 3-1 lead.
“Look, I’m still the manager for another 10 Premier League games and hopefully a few more Champions League games and there’s no point in speculating now on how many players we would need in which positions we need them.
“That’s not my problem. At the moment it’s about preparing the team for the Tottenham game and then for a very important game against Atletico in the Champions League.
“Right now we – and that’s me – have to be happy with the players we have. That is clear.
“We’ve lost two if not three strikers since Christmas, everyone knows that.
“Again, this is a fact and we need to deal with it. I’m not complaining about that, so it’s important for us to look ahead and make sure we continue to develop the team, which we’ve been doing over the last few weeks and months.
“We don’t always play against Manchester City. We have other teams and we showed against West Ham and against other teams like Leeds that we’re capable of winning those games and that’s my main task for the next two and a half months.
Rangnick’s frustration was evident in the post-match press conference and went beyond that on display as Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo were both unavailable through injury.
But it’s hard to say how much of a difference the veterans would have made at the Etihad Stadium, where even the demanding Guardiola was sated by the second-half performance.
“Well, if the second half isn’t our best, I honestly don’t know what we have to do,” said the City coach. “I’m such a demanding man but I know my limits and I know the limits of the players and the second half in every way (was excellent).
“United were eight games unbeaten, we had I don’t know how many shots in the second half so the performance was outstanding.
“I think everything is difficult, everything is complicated. The opponents are so good and today, especially in the second half, we did a great job.
“I’m my team’s biggest critic, but when we play well, we play well, and today we played really well.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/ralf-rangnick-well-aware-of-gap-between-man-utd-and-city-after-derby-defeat-41417696.html Ralf Rangnick keenly aware of gap between Man Utd and City after Derby defeat