Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick insisted his side must win when they visit Everton on Saturday to boost their hopes of Champions League qualification.
United have lost just two of 16 Premier League games since Rangnick’s arrival in December, limping to a 1-1 draw in their last outing against Leicester City. That leaves them seventh in the table, three points behind Tottenham and Arsenal, who have both played fewer games, and Rangnick appreciates it is now or never for the Red Devils to find form.
“That happens in football (big teams struggling), not only England but in other leagues. But for us again, it’s about being aware about the current situation,” the German said. “We still have a chance to qualify for the Champions League, but in order to do that we need to win and we definitely need to win the game (Saturday).
“If you look at the current situation in the table, we can’t afford to drop points anymore and I think everybody in the team and the squad is aware of that.”
Everton are flirting with relegation as they sit just a point above Burnley in the relegation zone, after succumbing to a 3-2 loss at the Clarets last time out, and Toffees boss Frank Lampard blamed that result on individual errors.
“Sometimes people can make judgments from the outside, about attitude and application,” he said. “The result on Wednesday was about individual mistakes. Players aren’t running or fighting less than the opposition. If someone didn’t do that, they wouldn’t play.
“We are very clear what we want the players to do every game. I saw a positive group of players this morning. They’ve got an understanding of the situation but they are positive because they know what needs to be done”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Everton – Richarlison
No Everton player has scored more home Premier League goals this season than Richarlison (3), who scored a brace of penalties against Burnley last time out, though he’s not netted at Goodison Park in the league since December.
Manchester United – Fred
Fred has been directly involved in six goals in 13 Premier League appearances under Ralf Rangnick for Man Utd, with only Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo (seven each) involved in more. He was only involved in five goals in his first 87 league appearances.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Everton have won just one of their last 13 Premier League meetings with Manchester United (D6 L6), beating them 4-0 in April 2019 under Marco Silva.
– Manchester United won this exact fixture 3-1 last season – they’ve not won consecutive away league games against Everton since a run of three between August 2005 and September 2007.
– Manchester United have won 37 Premier League games against Everton – only the Red Devils themselves (38 vs Spurs) have beaten a single opponent more often in the competition’s history.
– Manchester United have scored at least once in each of their last 16 away games in the Premier League (29 goals in total), their longest run of away games without failing to score in the competition since November 2008 (18) – the 17th game in that run was also at Goodison Park, a 1-1 draw.
– Only the three promoted sides have lost more Premier League home games than Everton this season (7). However, the Toffees are looking for consecutive home league wins for the first time since September.