Ralf Rangnick says he wanted Jesse Lingard in Manchester United squad vs Middlesbrough


Ralf Rangnick insists he was not responsible for Jesse Lingard taking an additional break that prevented him from playing in Manchester United’s FA Cup defeat to Middlesbrough.

United squandered countless chances in regulation time against the seventh-placed Championship side and were eliminated 8-7 in a penalty shootout after Anthony Elanga blazed his spotkick into the stands.

Lingard and Edinson Cavani were both absent, with the latter still in Uruguay after he played in a World Cup qualifier against Venezuela in Montevideo on Tuesday night.

Rangnick said on Friday Lingard had requested time off to ‘clear his mind’ but the player disputed the interim United manager on Twitter, claiming the club had advised him to have another break after a deadline day transfer to Newcastle did not materialise.

Sources suggested the United football director John Murtough spoke to Lingard and suggested he take more time off.

Cavani has had a tendency to dictate when he is selected for United and while Rangnick did not regret his absence he said he wanted to pick Lingard. “No, because he 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.

“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 teamsheet 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.”

United had 30 attempts at the Boro goal but their only goal was via a deflection from a Jadon Sancho effort that did not appear to be on target. Sancho hit the crossbar and Bruno Fernandes smacked the post, while Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty in regulation time.

Despite the profligacy, United led 1-0 at the interval and were in control until Matt Crooks scored controversially in the 64th minute, as referee Anthony Taylor overlooked the clear handball by Duncan Watmore before he teed up Crooks.

“We gave away too many chances,” Rangnick said. “Especially in the first-half, we could, should have easily been up 3-0 after 45 minutes and even in the second-half, we missed some great opportunities even after they scored their goal that shouldn’t have stood.

“Bruno’s chance was like a penalty, as well. So we have to blame ourselves for giving away and wasting too many opportunities in the game. And in the end, if it’s on penalties it’s also a question of luck and in the end, we lost that game and we are all incredibly disappointed.”

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