(Reuters) – Manchester United’s defeat by Crystal Palace on the final day of the season underlined the huge task facing their new manager Erik ten Hag, but interim boss Ralf Rangnick said he was optimistic about the club’s future.
United secured a spot in next season’s Europa League despite losing 1-0 on Sunday after West Ham United lost 3-1 at Brighton & Hove Albion to finish seventh.
“I think Brighton did us a favour to turn the game around,” Rangnick told reporters. “They were losing 1-0 at halftime and scored three goals in the second half. We would have loved to take care of ourselves.”
Rangnick’s tenure as interim manager came to an end with United collecting 58 points, their lowest tally in Premier League history. They have not won a trophy since winning the Europa League in 2017.
Dutchman Ten Hag will take charge of United ahead of the coming season and Rangnick said the extent of the club’s problems was known before Sunday’s defeat.
“We knew (what work lies ahead) before that game. We wouldn’t have needed that fixture today to know that, but I’m optimistic, I’m positive,” Rangnick said.
“With the new manager, and Erik is a top manager, together with our board, with our scouting department we can make sure that we get the necessary reinforcements, the players that help to raise the level of quality again.
“And then, hopefully, bring Manchester United back into the top four.”
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)