Ralf Rangnick insists it is not fair to target individuals after Paul Pogba was booed off the pitch by some Manchester United fans in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Norwich in the Premier League.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick at Old Trafford boosted United’s hopes of a top-four finish after defeats by rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, but the result glossed over another disappointing performance and home fans didn’t get it afraid to show their displeasure.
Pogba, whose contract with United expires at the end of the season, returned to the starting line-up but struggled to make an impact against the Premier League’s bottom side and was replaced by Juan Mata in the 74th minute with the score at 2-2. .
The United midfielder was then mocked as he walked off the pitch before prickling his ears at a particularly critical turn as he raced down the tunnel full time.
Although Rangnick admits he didn’t hear the boos from a section of disgruntled fans, he insists he doesn’t agree with their actions.
“I haven’t heard it myself, to be honest,” Rangnick said. “But we were talking about it with my staff in my office in the locker room.
“I think the fans here are amazing, really. The support in the stadium today was once again brilliant, it couldn’t have been better.
“I can understand if the fans are frustrated and disappointed – so are we. Things have remained, as far as I can tell, peaceful the whole time.
“I don’t think it makes sense to take and target an individual person or players because it’s a collective responsibility.
“Even if you look into the past, for me it doesn’t make sense and that’s why I will always defend and protect my players.”
The individual brilliance of Pogba’s team-mate Ronaldo has put United just three points behind fourth-placed Spurs as the season enters its final weeks, but Rangnick’s side continue to look defensively vulnerable.
Norwich had scored just eight away goals in the Premier League this campaign before moving to Manchester. Having had 15 shots in the game, Dean Smith’s side will no doubt feel bad for not coming out of Old Trafford with at least a point.
Rangnick said: “We didn’t defend well. We should have defended both goals better and David de Gea kept us in the game with a brilliant save.
“Overall it was very important to win the game, but the way we played defensively after going 2-0 down was not enough.
“It’s all about intensity and physicality. Before the first goal we had the ball at our feet on the touchline but if you’re not physical enough at those times to protect the ball, you can even lose the ball in those areas and within seconds they had a free header in our own box.
“It doesn’t make sense to just look and be interested in other results, we have to take care of our own results. Today we got the result but with the overall performance we absolutely have to raise that level. against Liverpool on Tuesday and the same away at Arsenal and at home against Chelsea.”
As for Ronaldo, he has now scored 60 hat-tricks in his professional career and has 21 goals for United this season in all competitions.
“Like against Tottenham, he was very crucial today,” added Rangnick. “The second and third were not easy goals, the way he took those two goals was just outstanding.”
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