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Ralf Rangnick’s key quotes ahead of Southampton clash

Hassenhüttl previously worked under Rangnick in Germany.

Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick faced the media on Friday afternoon ahead of his sides clash against Ralph Hassenhüttl’s Southampton.

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The Reds welcome the Saints to Old Trafford in the early game to kickstart match-week 25, with Rangnick fully aware of the threat his former colleague’s team will possess.

Rangnick a fan of Hassenhüttl

Hassenhüttl worked under the German during their time together at RB Leipzig, and he was full of praise for the Austrian.

“I have known him for six or seven years. He has developed in them years. It is obvious with what he has done with Southampton, and he also did a great job at Leipzig. He is an excellent coach.

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“We are fully aware that it will be a difficult game. I watched the game v Spurs and they deserved to win. They tactically played on a very high level and this will be a challenge for us, but I am sure that we are up for that challenge.”

Southampton come into the contest unbeaten in their last three games in all competitions, with a huge win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in midweek expected to bring a vein of confidence to the side.

United’s quest for Champions League football next season

Rangnick reiterated how important the game is, with United currently in sixth place after Arsenal’s win on Thursday night at Molineux.

“We have to win the game”, he said. “We are fully aware that we did well in both first halves v Middlesbrough and Burnley.”

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It was Harry Maguire’s poor defending that led to Jay Rodriguez’s equaliser at Turf Moor, with the German boss standing by his captain.

“I think he had an outstanding game v West Ham, against Middlesbrough we did not give that many chances to the other team. Against Burnley we could have defended transitional plays much better.

“He was injured for two weeks and had a very good game v West Ham. I am pretty sure he can perform at the same level against Southampton.”

With calls for the Englishman to be dropped again, Rangnick also confirmed fellow centre-back, Eric Bailly, is still out with a swollen ankle, but Victor Lindelof is fully fit.

The Swedish international endured a tough few months, contracting Covid, as well as his family home broken into during a game while his wife and two sons were present at home.

What are the problems going forward?

Away from the defensive issues, Rangnick also spoke on his attacking problems, with questions asked of how to get the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo was used as a substitute on Tuesday evening v Burnley and is currently undergoing his longest goal drought since 2010, having misfired in his previous five games.

However, similarly to Harry Maguire, Rangnick was quick to defend the Portuguese international.

“It is not only about Cristiano Ronaldo. We should score more goals, we are creating enough chances but we just have not scored enough goals. It is also an issue with all the other players.”

On the squad, the 63-year-old also said: “There has been good development in the last weeks, both in and out of possession. The results in the league have been OK, but it is about improving in terms of performances and getting the results.

“70 out of the 90 minutes against Burnley was very, very close to the game-plan. We did not stick to the game-plan after conceding v Burnley and Middlesbrough. We have to be more effective; we have to score more than one goal.”

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