Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick has conceded that his side are no longer in contention to finish in the Premier League’s top four.
The Red Devils travelled to the Emirates on Saturday afternoon to take on Arsenal in a game that would have a big role to play in who qualifies for the Champions League.
Rangnick’s side went into the game as the outsiders in the race for the top four, having fallen away in recent weeks, and they were thrashed 4-0 by rivals Liverpool at Anfield in midweek, adding to the misery.
But any hopes of a bounce back quickly went out the window as Arsenal took the lead inside the opening five minutes, capitalising on poor defending from the Man Utd back line. There would be more instances of that on display throughout the game as Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners.
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The win for Arsenal appears to have put them in control of the race for the top four, three points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur at the time of writing, albeit having played a game more. On the other side of the coin, Man Utd’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League have decreased even more.
Man Utd went into the game with a 1.25% chance of finishing in the top four, based on Opta’s AI-powered season predictions model, but that dropped to 0.17% with the defeat. Still a mathematical chance but, for Rangnick, the race is run.
“Pretty sure,” he told BT Sport when asked if the top four was gone for Man Utd.
“For me even before the game it was not very likely but after today’s result top four is gone yes.”
His thoughts were echoed by former Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand, who said: “There’s no way Man Utd make the top four now.
“No chance. It’s done.”
With Champions League qualification seemingly off the cards, Man Utd may now start to focus on building for next season. They have already begun to plan, naming Erik ten Hag as their new manager, with the Ajax boss joining them in the summer.
Just last week, Rangnick admitted Man Utd could need up to 10 new signings to compete with the likes of Liverpool, and the Red Devils are already being linked with a number of players.
But Man Utd do need to focus on the players that they have right now, with Scott McTominay admitted there are a lot of problems at the club.
“There are a whole lot of problems in terms of players, staff, everything higher up,” he told BT Sport.
“We need to concentrate on what’s happening on the pitch. It’s self-pride when we’re on the pitch. We don’t need to worry about who’s saying what. It’s pride when you go on the pitch, give your best, everyone.
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“There’s a lot of things going on at the minute, don’t get me wrong. For us, when we get back into the dressing room, it’s about going home and taking a look at ourselves in the mirror. You can’t go home and be satisfied at conceding three goals away at Arsenal whenever we deserved to win the game, that’s not the way that football works.
“For us, self-belief, lack of confidence, you can see it all in the last two months. We had a half-decent game today, but even then, it’s the belief, which is so big in football, it’s just not here at the minute.”