Defiant Rangnick sees plenty still to fight for

Man Utd

WATCH: Atleti dumps Man United out of Champions League

United claimed a commendable – albeit fortunate – 1-1 draw in Madrid last month as it looked to reach the quarter-finals for only the third time since finishing as runner-up in 2010-2011. 

While it was dominant over Atletico in the return leg at Old Trafford, United found its visitor immensely difficult to break down. 

A Renan Lodi header just before half-time ultimately proved decisive and left United with little to play for over the rest of the season. 

While they are not out of the hunt for a top-four spot in the Premier League just yet, the Red Devils trail Arsenal by a point and the Gunners have three games in hand. 

Despite the rather bleak outlook, Rangnick does not believe United's season is a write-off. 

He said: "It's now too early. We still have another nine games to play in the Premier League. We will try to finish off this season in the highest possible level. 

"We want to qualify for the Champions League again and we're fully aware that to do that we have to win most of those nine games. 

finishing the highest possible level with this team. Then it is time to speak about other things." 

While Rangnick accepts United's performance was another example of their seemingly chronic inability to maintain a certain level for a full game, he was also frustrated by referee Slavko Vincic's refusal to award a free-kick for an apparent foul on Anthony Elanga in the build-up to Atletico's goal. 

"A very good first half and the second half was difficult to find the rhythm again," he continued. 

"We know they are good at defending leads. We had one or two moments in the second half and there was a brilliant save from the goalkeeper. We were fully aware that against this team you need to score the first goal yourself." 

On the perceived foul, which Rangnick felt fed into a wider narrative of questionable refereeing, the German added: "That was a foul for sure on Anthony Elanga but the referee and the linesman didn't see it that way. 

"For me, that was the only real moment, and the offside goal, that they scored with. Apart from that, we defended well and we were compact in their transition moments. There is nothing I can blame the team for in the first half. 

"It was hard in the second half and always interrupted. There was always somebody lying on the floor. 

"I would also say some curious refereeing decisions. I wouldn't say they were decisive but at least he fell too often for those time-wasting antics and four minutes at the end added on was a joke for me."