Ralf Rangnick says his United players must refind their killer touch in front of goal or risk losing their hold on a top four place. United are seeking to put the frustration of their FA Cup exit at the hands of Championship side Middlesbrough behind them against Burnley at Turf Moor tonight.
And the interim manager insisted it was vital to their hopes of clinging on to a Champions League spot that his forwards start turning chances into goals.
He said: “Football it is also about getting results, being clinical and killing a game off and being ruthless in our own interest. This is what we didn’t do.
“If you have a game at home against a Championship team like Middlesbrough and you have 30 to 6 shots on goal and 22 to 3 inside the box you have to win this game.
“But we were just not clinical enough with the chances we had after conceding the equaliser.
“We didn’t give away that many chances and overall I think the team has developed and taken next steps but in the end it doesn’t help.”
Despite rumbling discontent at Old Trafford Rangnick has suffered defeat just once in 11 games – albeit through a very favourable run of fixtures – since taking over in early December.
That one reverse came against Wolves, the only opposition they have faced who occupy the top half of the Premier League table.
Yet his assessment that United lack ruthlessness in front of goal is backed up by statistics.
In 11 games a United side boasting attacking talents like Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and, until recently Mason Greenwood, have scored more than one goal just three times.
Those came with a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa and against Brentford and tonight’s opposition Burnley.
The 15 goals they have scored in all competitions under the German came from 146 shots with 62 of them on target, hardly the numbers of cold eyed assassins.
With another avenue to silverware closed off and with realistically, only the Champions League available to them this season, Rangnick admitted fourth place might be the best to hope for.
“Right now we are fourth in the league and everybody on the inside of the club including myself would be happy if we finish fourth at the end of the season.
“We are still in the Champions League, unfortunately no longer involved in the FA Cup and this is my full focus with my coaching staff.
“With the current team that we have it is about getting the best out of this season. It is the only thing we can do and we can achieve that.
“But we would be more likely to achieve that if we improve our performances.”
Edinson Cavani could sharpen their eye in front of goal at Turf Moor tonight after being granted extra time off following international duty with Uruguay.
But both Alex Telles and Fred have been ruled out after testing positive for Covid-19.
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