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flops Too many Manchester United players are not fit to wear the shirt handed to them


Ralf Rangnick knows Manchester United face a battle to finish in the top four (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ralf Rangnick knows Manchester United face a battle to finish in the top four (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ralf Rangnick knows Manchester United face a battle to finish in the top four (Martin Rickett/PA)

THIS desperate season has featured far too many lows for Manchester United and this miserable 1-1 draw can be added to an increasingly lengthy list.

On a night when they were relieved to escape with a point against a Leicester side that deserved to rub at Old Trafford, interim boss Ralf Rangnick now faces an uphill battle to get United back into the Champions League for next season.

Leicester opened the scoring after 63 minutes when Kelechi Iheanacho stooped to head home a teasing cross from James Maddison, with Fred drawing United level three minutes later as they launched a rare foray at goal.

Maddison thought he had won the game for Leicester with a late strike that was ruled out after the VAR officials urged referee Andre Marriner to rule out the goal following a foul on Raphael Varane in the build-up.

Yet the truth must be that this was a game United deserved to lose, with coach Rangnick getting his tactics horribly wrong once again and his players failing to show the desire required to win a game that was so important to their top four hopes.

Only Rangnick can explain why he started this game without a first choice striker, after Cristiano Ronaldo was ruled out due to illness and Marcus Rashford was left on the bench.

The end result was a first half that saw Bruno Fernandes trying to lead the United line, occasionally supported by Paul Pogba, in a formation that was as dysfunctional as it was misguided.

It's hard to see how Rangnick's formation, which effectively became a 4-6-0 for most of the first half could work, with Leicester's failure to capitalise on United's lack of attacking panache ensuring this was a dire stalemate.

Scott McTominay was fortunate to stay on the field after a wild lung at Maddison could have resulted in a red card

Yet the lack of action in this game highlighted a chasm in quality that has been evident in United's ranks throughout this season, with Jadon Sancho, Rashford (right), Pogba (left) and Fernandes all failing to live up to their billing yet again.

Even after Maddison's late strike was ruled out, there was no final flourish from United, with their old habit of finding late winners in injury time a trait this mediocre team cannot replicate.

A roar went up around Old Trafford as it was confirmed there would be five minutes of time added on at the end of the game

Yet even though Sancho and Rashford had half chances to snatch a winner United barely deserved, the final whistle sounded amid a confused hum from the home fans.

A glance at the team sheet for this game suggests some real quality was included in the United ranks and even if Rangnick's tactical plan backfired, so much more should be expected from these players.

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Yet we have been making the same statements for several years and now and we have long gone past the point where we can defend a team that lacks the heart and class to wear United shirts.

The result could have been even more damaging to United if Maddison's goal had stood, with the Leicester midfielder admitting the decision could have gone in his side's favour.

"I thought we were very good in large spells of the game. We started well and could have bene precise with out passing but in the main the positioning and movement was good," said Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers.

"The second half we scored a couple of great goals, their keeper makes a great save and we are bitterly disappointed not to get the goal.

"Raphael Varane has used his experience, he gets the contact and goes down. There were opportunities for them to clear it but we were deserving of that.

"Every week we are seeing this types of actions, we felt we deserved to win the game.

"We had one in the season when Ayoze Perez was sent off, that one was similar, the ball gets way he has to make a challenge. We got the yellow.

"Jonny Evans' calf tightened up after the international game but I was very happy with the team and back to where we have been the last few years. Playing good football and looking a threat.

"It was a good performance away here, disappointed to not win and that is always a good sign.

"The football was very good but we passed it well a lot of the time and got into some good areas. But for a decision, we would have won."

United are now level on points with Spurs in the Premier League table, sitting in sixth place having played a game more than Spurs.

They remain three points behind an Arsenal side that have two extra games to play, yet there is very little expectation this team will secure a top four finish.

When a team of footballers let you down time and again, then it is hardly a surprise when they flop as they flopped once again.

Too many players in this Manchester United side are not fit to wear the red shirt that has been handed to them.

Until that changes, this great club will be stuck in neutral.

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