Ralf Rangnick takes clear stance after Jesse Lingard comments

Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick has clarified his position after Jesse Lingard did not feature in their FA Cup fourth round tie against Middlesbrough.

The Red Devils suffered a shock penalty shootout defeat to their Championship opposition.

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The evening started well for United, with Jadon Sancho opening the scoring on 25 minutes. It was his first goal at Old Trafford for the club.

But Boro retained a threat in the second half, and were duly rewarded when Matt Crooks drew them level on 64 minutes.

The game then went into extra time. Despite United recording 80 per cent of ball possession during that period, they could only muster one shot on target.

That meant a penalty shootout. Both sides scored their first seven penalties before Anthony Elanga hit his spot-kick over the bar. Boro full-back Lee Peltier converted from 12 yards, meaning that United, inexplicably, were out of the FA Cup.

There has been plenty of focus on the performances of those that did feature in the game. However, there has also been lots of attention on those that didn’t.

Rangnick leaves Cavani and Lingard out of the squad

Image Credit: Getty

Neither Edinson Cavani nor Jesse Lingard were selected in the squad to take on Middlesbrough.

On Wednesday, Cavani played 66 minutes of a World Cup qualifier for Uruguay, so his non-selection was slightly less controversial. But the topic of Jesse Lingard was brought up by Ralf Rangnick earlier this week.

The United interim boss claimed that Lingard needed time to “clear his head” after a transfer move to Newcastle fell through on deadline day. The Manchester Evening News reported that the 29-year-old is seen as an “important player” for the club – even though he has started just twice all season.

But Lingard disputed his manager’s claims in a social media post on Thursday. He claimed that the club had advised him to take time off.

He explained: “The club advised me to have time off due to personal reasons! But my headspace is clear and I’ll always be professional when called upon and give 100 per cent.”

Ralf Rangnick clarifies Jesse Lingard position

When asked why he had not selected Lingard after the defeat to Middlesbrough on Friday, Rangnick gave a rather spiky response.

He said: “With Jesse, I told you what my information was and what my knowledge was. 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? It doesn’t make sense.

“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.”

It has been reported that United sporting director John Murtough told Lingard to take time away from the club – not Rangnick.

That stance would certainly explain some of Rangnick’s comments over the matter. However, the differing points of view of manager and player will surely concern United fans, who have seen their team knocked out of yet another cup competition.

Featured Image Credit: Getty