The most important part about football is the game itself. No matter what you think of Man United’s season, it should be clear that in general this team has been a disappointment.
The “Man United’s season drifts to tepid conclusion as top” is a statement that shows how the Manchester United team’s season has been. The team had a lot of success in the beginning, but then started to lose and finish out with a disappointing result.
3:55 p.m. Eastern
Dawson, Rob Correspondent
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom — A replay of Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City will show Erik ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino how difficult it will be to turn the club around.
This has turned into a season in which the Old Trafford club is edging closer to the Europa League — or worse — and which is being played out by a group of players who seem to be lacking in confidence and belief. Good luck to whomever succeeds Ralf Rangnick this summer; you have your job cut out for you.
After another outcome that sees United fall further out of the Premier League’s top four, the incoming manager will most likely not have to worry about the Champions League for at least a year. Without David De Gea’s miraculous stop to deny Wesley Fofana and VAR’s decision to rule out a late James Maddison goal, it might have been a lot worse.
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Regardless, it was a dreadful day for the home team. Leicester were “disappointed” to depart with just a point, according to Maddison, who was the game’s outstanding performer and stood head and shoulders above everyone wearing red.
When a superb opportunity went to Jadon Sancho at the back post in the third minute of second-half stoppage time, he could only scuff a shot against his own leg and out for a goal kick. Soon after, Anthony Elanga and Marcus Rashford collided, and another opportunity was lost.
There was little reason to believe Rangnick’s club could finish fourth in the last eight games, especially with games against Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea yet to play. Arsenal leads by three points with two games remaining, while West Ham is just three points behind United in ninth place.
For the sixth time this season, Manchester United has lost points at home. Getty
“We’ll attempt to win as many games as possible as long as it’s theoretically feasible,” Rangnick stated. “Obviously, our situation isn’t improved after losing two points. It is our responsibility to end the season on a high note.
“The second half was better; in the first half, we struggled to establish our rhythm, probably due to the international break,” the interim manager continued. “When I consider the whole game, I believe the draw is acceptable. We had chances to score the game-winning goal, but they did as well.”
Rangnick stated at his Friday press conference that his players are sufficiently driven to end the season successfully, but there was little evidence to back that up, especially in the first 45 minutes. Bruno Fernandes started as a replacement No. 9 in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani, and United produced little before halftime, except for a shot that Kasper Schmeichel saved with his knees.
Leicester took the lead after 63 minutes when Kelechi Iheanacho headed in Maddison’s cross, and they were unfortunate when United equalized three minutes later when Fernandes’ drive deflected off Schmeichel and dropped to Fred eight yards away.
After that, Schmeichel didn’t have to make another save, and Leicester seemed to be on the verge of scoring a victory. United has only won three of their last 11 games in all competitions, and none of their last five meetings with Brendan Rodgers’ side.
“It was a solid performance away here; we were sorry not to win, but that is always a positive indication,” Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri remarked. “The football was excellent, but we were able to pass it well most of the time and get into some decent spots. In significant stretches of the game, I felt we were pretty excellent.”
Rodgers claimed he had no idea what the Europa Conference League was after Leicester was relegated from the Europa League in December. United supporters may want to brush up on their knowledge since, on present form, they will be lucky to finish fifth.
The greater concern, though, is if the slump continues into the next season. Rangnick’s programme notes echoed his pregame remarks, urging his players to “create momentum to experience the advantages when August arrives,” but the German’s rallying cries aren’t working.
Instead, he got more of the same, with the game resembling a dreadful 0-0 draw with Watford at the end of February in many ways. It was difficult to believe United had been training for 18 days since their previous match, and although they still had a week to prepare for a trip to Everton, each game mattered less.
There is a glimmer of optimism that Champions League qualification is still feasible, though not likely. It’s all they’ve got left as a terrible season draws to a close.
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