Ralf Rangnick admits Manchester United’s defensive frailties mean his team could struggle to win even a point when they take on quadruple-chasing Liverpool in the Premier League this week.
United needed a 50th club career hat-trick from veteran attacker Cristiano Ronaldo to defeat relegation-haunted Norwich City 3-2 on Saturday.
Rangnick’s side threw away a two-goal advantage at Old Trafford and needed a well-struck free-kick from Ronaldo 14 minutes from time to secure a vital three points in their battle for a top-four spot.
But the German interim manager admitted the defensive weakness shown by his team against the division’s bottom club was a concern ahead of Tuesday’s game against Liverpool at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s side remain on course for four trophies – they have already won the League Cup – as they sit just one point behind table-topping Manchester City and take on Villarreal in the Champions League semi-finals.
The Merseysiders beat City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday.
“Everybody has seen today’s game and everybody knows what kind of team we are playing on Tuesday,” Rangnick said.
“They [Liverpool] have just beaten Man City, they are in the cup final and they might have a chance to win four trophies this season.
“If we play like we did today, it will be very difficult to even get a point.
“This is what we have to be realistic and aware of. We have to be lot better when the opposition is in possession.”
On a more upbeat note for United, Ronaldo’s goals took him to 20 goals in all competitions this season – 12 more goals than any of his teammates.
It is the 16th season in a row that Ronaldo, 37, has scored 20 or more club goals in all competitions and moved him on to 99 career Premier League goals.
However, there are doubts Ronaldo will see out the final year of his contract next season after a season of turmoil and disappointment back at the club.
Rangnick says a decision on Ronaldo’s future will be made by his permanent successor, with Ajax manager Erik ten Hag reportedly set to be appointed within days.
“In the end, this is not my decision,” said Rangnick, who will stay on at Old Trafford as an adviser.
“Cristiano has another year on his contract. This will be a decision for the new manager to take together with the board.
“But he showed against Tottenham and today that he can be the difference-maker in games like this.
“It is no coincidence he has the best goalscoring record of all players in history.”
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