Manchester United’s Ralf Rangnick perplexed over missed handball in loss to Middlesbrough


Ralf Rangnick said Manchester United only had themselves to blame for their FA Cup fourth round exit to Middlesbrough despite arguing the goal they conceded should not have stood.

United lost 8-7 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Friday. Anthony Elanga missed the key penalty in the shootout after Cristiano Ronaldo had missed from the spot in regular time.

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Matt Crooks scored Middlesbrough’s disputed equaliser after Duncan Watmore had appeared to handle the ball in the build up, but after Rangnick was just as upset with his team’s finishing.

“How can it be accidental [handball] if he controls the ball up in the air with his hand?” Rangnick asked after the match. “It was clear it should not stand, but in the end I was really surprised it stood.

“In the first half we should have easily been 3-0 up and second half we had chances too. We should have won the game in normal time. On penalties it can happen what happened today.

“Incredibly disappointed, we should have won and killed off the game in the first half.”

Elanga, 19, was left to take a penalty in part because of the absence of both Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard from the squad.

Cavani was granted extra time off after playing for Uruguay in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers, while Rangnick said Lingard asked for time off to “clear his mind” after a proposed move to Newcastle United on deadline day failed to materialise.

Lingard later posted on social media saying he had been absent from training on the advice of the club but asked again on Friday night, Rangnick appeared to stick to his version of events.

“Edi played for Uruguay on Wednesday [morning], with jet lag and the travel arrangements it would not have made sense, he wouldn’t have been in the squad anyway,” said Rangnick.

“And with Jesse, I told you what my information was and my knowledge was, and of course I would have loved to have had Jesse in the squad.

“We were one outfield player less on the team sheet today, so why would I have allowed him to have four or five days off?

“I would have loved to have had him in the squad, but it was not the case and therefore it doesn’t make sense to speak about players who were not available.”