By Callum McFadden at Old Trafford.
It is now just over ten weeks since Ralf Rangnick took interim charge of Manchester United after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
There are signs of a new plan coming together, but the team lacked the clinical quality in the final third to progress in the FA Cup, and were eventually knocked out on penalties by Championship side Middlesbrough.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed the chance to give his side the lead from the penalty spot in the opening 20 minutes, sending his shot wide.
But his compatriot Bruno Fernandes provided a brilliant assist to Jadon Sancho who opened the scoring shortly after Ronaldo’s miss.
United created numerous chances throughout the game and were made to pay for not putting the game to bed when Matt Crooks was on hand to turn home a Duncan Watmore shot that was drifting off target.
Manchester United 1 (4.2)-(1.5) 1 Middlesbrough Shot Map pic.twitter.com/0GtiDjtVRw
— Crab Stats Graphics (@CrabStats) February 4, 2022
United are still in the race for the top four and are also in the last 16 of the Champions League, but Rangnick believes they will need to improve in front of goal if they are to achieve their remaining goals this season.
“I actually think that we have played well in the last couple of weeks in the league and also tonight in the first half,” he said.
“I do not think that we could have done much better than what we did apart from adding to our goal tally. I was more than pleased with how the team played in that first half.
“However, in any cup match, it is about winning the game and we did not achieve that in the end. That is why we are extremely disappointed.
“There is not that much time for us to prepare as our next important game is against Burnley on Tuesday. We need to take our chances better and show more quality than we did today.”