Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick was left feeling curious about some of the refereeing decisions made as his side crashed out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid.
Renan Lodi’s late first-half header was the difference between the sides and gave Atletico a 2-1 aggregate win to advance themselves into the quarter-finals.
Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic was booed throughout the game by the home support and whilst he didn’t put the blame on the official, Rangnick did criticise some of his decisions.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Rangnick said: “I think we played a very good first half – exactly the way we wanted to play with a high energy level but we couldn’t convert that into one or two goals.
“We had a few good moments where we should have scored but we didn’t. Conceding that counter-attacking goal just before half time didn’t make life any easier.
“It was hard in the second half and always interrupted. There was always somebody lying on the floor.
“I would also say some curious refereeing decisions. I wouldn’t say they were decisive but at least he fell too often for those time-wasting antics and four minutes at the end added on was a joke for me.”
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The German boss also revealed that he couldn’t blame his side for their first-half showing but admitted they struggled to find their rhythm in the after the break.
“Anyway, a very good first half and the second half was difficult to find the rhythm again.
“We know they are good at defending leads. We had one or two moments in the second half and there was a brilliant save from the goalkeeper. We were fully aware that against this team you need to score the first goal yourself.
“That was a foul for sure on Anthony Elanga but the referee and the linesman didn’t see it that way. For me that was the only real moment, and the offside goal, that they scored with.
“Apart from that, we defended well and we were compact in their transition moments. There is nothing I can blame the team for in the first half.”
The defeat means United now must finish in the top four to qualify for next seasons competition and Rangnick is well aware his side must be in top form to have any chance of doing so.
“It’s now too early. We still have another nine games to play in the Premier League. We will try to finish off this season in the highest possible level.
“We want to qualify for the Champions League again and we’re fully aware that to do that we have to win most of those nine games.
“Right now to think about how we can close the gap to the top teams is too early. My focus is on finishing the highest possible level with this team then it is time to speak about other things.”