Ralf Rangnick felt that Manchester United missed a chance to take advantage of a “crumbling” Everton side
The German cut a hugely frustrated figure in the post-match press conference on Merseyside, as he reflected on an afternoon of few chances and sluggish approach play.
The Toffees headed into the game deeply concerned about relegation, after a damaging 3:2 loss to Burnley last Wednesday, but despite a dominant first 25 minutes, United were unable to exploit the home side’s obvious vulnerabilities.
“I think we had a good start into the game,” said the boss, as he answered questions from the gathered media in the Everton press centre.
“The first 25 minutes we were in full control of the game. Saying that, we didn’t, even in those 25 minutes, take enough or make enough advantage out of that dominating period in the game.
“Especially on our left side, I would have wished us to create more overlaps, underlaps, and exploit this open space more than we did. We had our moments; we could have scored in the first 25 minutes, but I still, even in that period of the game, I would have wished us to have been more penetrating, to have more players up in the box.”
“You could literally feel that they [Everton] were crumbling,” he continued. “After that result against Burnley, quite logically, they were not full of confidence. But we didn’t take advantage out of that.
“With their first shot on goal, a deflected goal, it changed the game. It also changed – which was expected to happen – it changed the atmosphere in the stadium.
“And, yeah, the second half, they just defended with all their few players on the pitch, and we were not able to break that wall down in the second half.”
Goodison Park was indeed given a huge emotional lift when Anthony Gordon’s goal gave Everton the lead, but Rangnick felt it was our own mindset – not the bear-pit atmosphere – that was our downfall.
“I don’t think that the place intimidated the players,” he insisted. “My gut feeling was that we just struggled with the level of the expectation and once you’re all of a sudden 1-0 down, again, it doesn’t make life easier for us.
“Especially against a then defensive team, who are still good on the counterattack. You have to score the first goal yourself in a game like this, and this would have changed the game.”
Asked whether he agreed with David De Gea’s assessment – that the performance was not up to the standard required of a Man United team – the interim manager nodded.
“I totally agree. If you don’t score in 95 minutes against a team that conceded three goals against Burnley, and we scored three goals against Tottenham, it’s difficult to explain that,” he lamented.
“Even for us, as the coaching staff, it’s not so easy to understand why we didn’t create more chances in a game like this.
“The only thing that we can do right now is stick together and try to improve and raise the level of performance in the next games.”