LEEDS — Ralf Rangnick reserved special praise for the character of his Manchester United side, as they battled hard to win 4-2 away at Leeds United.
After reports of rifts in the squad and star players not pulling in the same direction, United dug deep as a team in a hostile environment to boost their top four hopes.
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In the pouring rain and in front of a raucous home crowd, Rangnick’s side showed quality when it mattered most as they battled past objects being thrown at their players from the stands and hefty challenges galore.
Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes, Fred and Anthony Elanga grabbed the goals but United did cough up a 2-0 half time lead and were pegged back to 2-2 early in the second half.
However, they showed superb character to regain control of the game in the Elland Road cauldron.
Rangnick praises maturity, unity
“I think we showed maturity. We were raising our level of aggression towards what we had to play here,” Rangnick said. “We did well and showed character. This was an important win and we had to win this game. I hope that not only the win but the way we achieved the win will give us additional energy for the upcoming games.”
“The atmosphere was great. At times you had to cool things down a little,” the German coach continued, as he smiled as he was asked about coming onto the pitch to calm down a melee late in the game.
Given that Tottenham and Arsenal both won earlier this weekend, the pressure was on United in the top four battle and they delivered a clinical display.
“We knew it was an important win today,” Rangnick said. “It was important that we not only won the game but the way we reacted after conceding the equalizer. That was the best possible answer the team could give,” Rangnick said.
“It was perfect with regard to maturity, unity and the best reply that they could give to some articles last week that there was some disruption in the locker room. I think a game like this one today you can only win as a team and with the mentality of a team and this was, apart from the three points, the most important thing.”
With one loss in their last 14 Premier League games, Manchester United are finding ways to get it done as a team.
It isn’t pretty, but they are proving they are up for the fight. Rangnick punching his fist into the air to the away fans at Elland Road felt like a big moment for him. Let’s see if they can make the most of it.