Erik ten Hag said Ralf Rangnick's continued working relationship with Manchester United is a matter for the club, while saying now is the time to "make a future".

Rangnick stepped in as interim boss when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked back in November, with the initial intention being he would move into an advisory role at the end of the season.

United's performances and squad harmony came under a lot of scrutiny under Rangnick, but he insisted he would remain as a consultant even when being named as Austria head coach earlier this month.

Ten Hag is the man United, who finished sixth in the Premier League, tasked with bringing the good times back to Old Trafford and he said regardless of whether Rangnick continues to work with the club the key decisions will be his.

"I analyse by myself. I observe and I speak with a lot of people. But I will draw my own line," he said at a media conference on Monday.

"That [if Rangnick stays] is for the club."

United have failed to win a trophy since 2017, while they last won the Premier League title in Alex Ferguson's last season in charge in the 2012-13 campaign.

The Red Devils recorded their lowest ever points tally in the competition, while rumblings that all is not well among the playing squad have been present throughout a tumultuous campaign.

Ten Hag is leaving a job where he has delivered three Eredivisie titles and overseen a run to the Champions League semi-finals back in the 2018-19 season.

But the Dutchman does not believe he is taking a risk by making the move to Old Trafford.

"The confidence is that I have a good feeling with the people around, I have a good feeling from the meetings. We have a plan and now it's about getting the plan done," he added.

"What we are thinking about is this is a project, I know it takes time, but I also know that in this club, and I have the experience with other clubs like Ajax and Bayern Munich, at the top there's never time. But we want to win, we want every game, so we go from game to game and then we will see.

"I don't see it as a risk. This club has a great history and now let's make a future. It is really exciting to do that with the people around at the club, we will bring new people into the staff, and work with the players to try and achieve success."

United finished 35 points adrift of champions and rivals Manchester City this season and Ten Hag is focused on building rather than making ambitious claims to challenge for the title.

"I don't think about that at this moment. I'm thinking that this is a project and it takes time," he said.

"We want to win every game. We go from game to game and then we'll see.

"It's a fantastic league. I've already met big coaches and big teams in the Premier League and I know how to deal with that. But it's clear, the Premier League is the biggest league in the world I think and I'm looking forward to battling with them."

Ralf Rangnick lamented another abject away showing from Manchester United at Crystal Palace, while he thanked Brighton and Hove Albion for helping the Red Devils to Europa League qualification.

United lost six consecutive away league matches for the first time since March 1981 after Wilfried Zaha's strike proved decisive in the 1-0 win for Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Erik ten Hag was in attendance at Selhurst Park and has much to ponder after United finished the Premier League season with a record-low points tally (58).

It was also the first time United did not end a league campaign with a positive goal difference (zero in 2021-22) for the first time since the 1989-90 season (minus-one).

However, Brighton came from behind to defeat top-six hopefuls West Ham, which meant United will be playing Europa League football next term under Ten Hag after finishing sixth in the league.

Rangnick, who will move into a consultancy role alongside his managerial job at Austria, expressed his gratitude to Graham Potter's side for overcoming David Moyes' West Ham.

"Yes, I think Brighton did us the favour to turn the game around because they were losing at half-time," he told reporters. 

"They scored three times in the second half and that was the good thing about the weekend and about this fixture.

"We would have loved to take care of ourselves but in a way the game was indicative of last couple of weeks, especially when we played away from home.

"It was a new experience for me, not necessarily coming in the middle of the season, but knowing that it would be an interim role. Unfortunately, we didn't have any pre-season and unfortunately, we couldn't strengthen the squad.

"These things happen and in hindsight, it was a little bit bittersweet or sweet bitter rather because in the first couple of weeks and months we did well.

"We collected enough points with an average of 2.1 until the game against Atletico [Madrid] but I think that defeat in the Champions League was in a way like somebody popped the balloon."

Rangnick also bemoaned United's away performance as they failed to capitalise on chances and allowed Palace to impose themselves on the contest.

"I think we had three good opportunities to score ourselves in the first half but we didn't and, especially in the first half, we had too many unforced errors and bad giveaways, that is the way we conceded the goal," he continued.

"In fact, it was our assist, the goalscorer, in the end, was Zaha but the ones who gave the assist were ourselves.

"There was a throw-in – just keep the ball into our own half – and the way we defended that shot was also not the way that you have to defend in this league and that's why we were trailing again 1-0.

"At half-time, we were trying to bring on all the young strikers we had on the bench. We had some opportunities in the second half but it was not clinical enough and that's why we lost again away from home."

Manchester United will be playing Europa League football next season despite Wilfried Zaha scoring in a 1-0 win for Crystal Palace over the Red Devils in the Premier League.

Incoming United boss Erik ten Hag was in attendance at Selhurst Park as Zaha punished a languid first-half showing by Ralf Rangnick's side to put Palace in front.

United, without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo, could not find a breakthrough in the second half as they fell to a sixth straight away league defeat.

However, West Ham were defeated by Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday, which kept United in sixth despite the Red Devils finishing the term with a club record-low Premier League points tally.

Edinson Cavani, playing in his final game for United, almost wrongfooted Vicente Guaita with a volley after 14 minutes, but the Spaniard readjusted to parry away.

David de Gea showed quick reflexes to thwart low drives from Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp, but the United goalkeeper had no response shortly after when the Ivory Coast international drilled into the bottom-left corner.

Bruno Fernandes tamely curled a free-kick into Guaita's hands after the interval, while Conor Gallagher dragged a presentable opportunity wide at the other end.

Anthony Elanga sliced wide from Juan Mata's cutback as United searched for a late equaliser, although a belated offside flag against the Spaniard spared the Sweden international's blushes.

United continued pressing forward but Palace held firm for a fifth consecutive top-flight home clean sheet for just the second time in history.

Edinson Cavani was handed a farewell start for Manchester United as Ralf Rangnick confirmed Sunday's game at Crystal Palace would be the striker's last for the club.

The 35-year-old, who is Paris Saint-Germain's all-time record scorer, joined United in October 2020 after leaving the Ligue 1 giants.

Cavani scored 10 goals in 26 Premier League games in his debut season, but he has featured only in fits and starts this term, scoring just twice in the league ahead of the clash with Palace in south London.

Interim manager Rangnick announced Cavani was the only player in his line-up at Selhurst Park who would not be with United when new boss Erik ten Hag takes the helm.

"Out of our starting XI, there will be 10, apart from Edi Cavani, who will still be playing for this club next season," Rangnick told MUTV.

Nineteen-year-old Hannibal Mejbri was included as United, who were watched from the stands by Ten Hag, wrapped up a miserable campaign.

Rangnick urged United's players to get the win that would make sure of sixth place.

"I presume they'd much rather play in the Europa League than the Conference League," Rangnick said.

Ralf Rangnick acknowledges Cristiano Ronaldo is "not a pressing monster", as he admitted compromising on his preferred style of play during an underwhelming six months as Manchester United's interim manager.

Rangnick will take charge of his final United game at Crystal Palace on Sunday before moving into a consultancy role with the club, while reports suggest Ronaldo will not feature at Selhurst Park after suffering a hip flexor issue. 

The 37-year-old has scored 18 Premier League goals since returning to Old Trafford at the beginning of the campaign. Despite United enduring a woeful season under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Rangnick, that represents his second-most prolific campaign in the competition after 2007-08 (when he scored 31 times as the Red Devils won the title.)

However, several commentators have pointed out the Portuguese striker's lack of off-the-ball work is an awkward fit with Rangnick's preferred high-intensity pressing style.

United rank just 12th among Premier League sides for possessions won in the final third this term, with 162, some way short of Liverpool (278), and Manchester City (231), the two highest-pressing sides in the division.

The Red Devils also rank 12th for possessions won in the middle third of the pitch, with 851, with Rangnick struggling to instil a high-octane style at Old Trafford.

While praising Ronaldo for his goalscoring prowess, Rangnick acknowledged that pressing has never been Ronaldo's forte, hinting he may have made too many compromises on his coaching style during his time in charge. 

"Cristiano Ronaldo, and I'm not blaming him at all, he did great in those games. But he's not a pressing monster," Rangnick told a press conference ahead of the trip to Palace.

"He's not a player, even when he was a young player, who was crying, shouting, 'hooray, the other team has got the ball, where can we win balls?'

"The same with quite a few other players, so we had to make some compromises at one stage, maybe we made a few too many – that's also possible."

Rangnick has also been critical of United's lack of January transfer activity in the past, revealing this month that the club's board overruled his desire to sign another striker in January.

Earlier this month, the former RB Leipzig boss said: "I spoke to the board and said: 'shouldn't we at least speak and try and analyse if we could get a player either on loan or as a permanent deal?' But in the end the answer was no."

However, as Rangnick prepares to make way for Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, he reassured United's fanbase that they can expect arrivals in the upcoming transfer window.

"We spoke about the last transfer window in January where we and the board decided not to sign any players, but this is different now," Rangnick added.

"In this summer window there will be some new players and Erik will also have some influence on which kind of player he wants.

"That will happen in this window and hopefully the next two windows, and I think it's obvious to everybody, for the owners, the board, and every supporter, we need to increase and raise the level of quality within the squad."

Ralf Rangnick has revealed he will meet with incoming Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag over the weekend as he looks to help the Red Devils rebuild after a frustrating campaign.

Rangnick will take charge of his final game at the United helm at Crystal Palace on Sunday, with the Old Trafford outfit only able to finish as high as sixth at the end of a poor Premier League season, while their major trophy drought will now stretch to five years.

Ten Hag will reportedly attend United's match at Selhurst Park, where the Red Devils need to win to guarantee they will not drop to seventh in the final standings, which would mark their joint-worst finish in the Premier League (alongside the 2013-14 season) and see them play Europa Conference League football next term.

Overseeing his final pre-match media conference as United's interim boss before taking on a consultancy role with the club, Rangnick revealed he has already been in contact with Ten Hag and will soon meet him in person to begin the process of overhauling the squad.

The former RB Leipzig director of football also reiterated his belief that United can return to the top of the English game within "two or three" transfer windows if they get their recruitment right.

"We've been in contact via WhatsApp, and hopefully I will have the opportunity to speak and meet in person either over the weekend or by Monday morning at the latest," Rangnick said.

"I'm looking forward to speaking with him in person and getting to know him.

"I still strongly believe that there is a core of players who are top, who are good enough to play for this club, and hopefully most of those players will still be here next season.

"As I said earlier on, if the board, Erik, the scouting department – and I will help them with all the issues that I can – If we can bring in the right mentality of players, the right quality of players, I'm positive that we will be able to bring this club, not only back on track but back to the top.

"This is what it's all about in the next couple of weeks, maybe it will not happen in one transfer window, but I'm very positive it can happen in the next two or three windows."

Rangnick was also asked whether he and Ten Hag had discussed the specifics of the German's new role at Old Trafford, and insisted his experience of recruiting young players could be key in the future.

"We spoke about that in detail, about all the different areas where I could be of help," he added. "It's not that difficult to know in which areas this could be.

"We showed in the last 15 years with [Rangnick's former clubs] Hoffenheim and with [RB] Salzburg and Leipzig, that even with clubs not as prominent as Manchester United, it's possible to identify and develop [young players], that this is possible.

"This is what is most important: that the club finds players for whom it is the next logical step in their career, to develop their sporting career. If that happens, I'm more than positive and I can also hopefully encourage our fans that we will bring Manchester United back to the top."

Meanwhile, Rangnick looked back upon his underwhelming six-month tenure at Old Trafford, claiming his side were on the right track until they fell to a 2-1 aggregate Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid in March.

Rangnick did, however, suggest a lack of team spirit and togetherness had plagued United since then, calling that his "biggest disappointment."

"I think we have to see it in different periods of time," he added. "I think that until we dropped out against Atletico – and this was a vital blow – I think since then we've lost confidence and energy in the team.

"Until then, I think we stabilised the team defensively, compared perhaps to the team that shipped four goals against Watford away [in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's final game in charge]. I think until that Atletico game, we were much more stable defensively, we also had a few games where we scored goals and played well.

"But what didn't happen was that this development happened in a sustainable way, so we couldn't keep that on a regular level, either we had problems scoring goals or to prevent goals being scored against us.

"I think since the Atletico game, we just didn't find our shape, our form, again. This has got to do with confidence, a little bit also with mentality, team spirit, togetherness, and we just fell short in those areas.

"This is, for me, the biggest disappointment, that we didn't manage to develop a certain team spirit that helped us even in the difficult moments of the games and the league, this happens also to other teams… this is, for me, the biggest issue in hindsight."

Manchester United supporters will not forget the damaging impact some Red Devils players have had this campaign, while Jesse Lingard did not have a "god-given right" to an Old Trafford send-off.

That is according to United great Gary Neville, who referenced legendary captains of the club, Steve Bruce and Bryan Robson, not being given special treatment in their final games for the club.

Lingard was not in the squad for the final home game of the season against Brentford last Monday, his last chance to feature at Old Trafford with his contract set to expire at the end of the campaign.

Louie Scott, Lingard's brother, subsequently took to Instagram to take aim at United, venting his anger how the England international could spend 20 years at the club without being offered a farewell.

Neville – speaking on The Gary Neville Podcast – labelled the situation as "nonsense" as he suggested Lingard did not merit a send-off.

"There was a lot of nonsense spoken about Lingard. He's been at the club a long time and done a good job," he said.

"But I've seen Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce not play in their last games for the club and not get a send-off in cup finals.

"They were both great captains and one of them probably is the greatest captain Manchester United have ever had. They didn't get the send-off they wanted so I'm not sure why Lingard deserved it.

"I was thrown away in West Brom in a toilet – sometimes it just doesn't work out, Jesse!

"To feel like you've a god-given right to get some minutes on the pitch based on how they played. Not one of them, other than David de Gea and Cristiano Ronaldo, can complain about what will happen to them this summer."

Lingard was again not present as Brighton and Hove Albion thumped United 4-0 on Saturday, the Red Devils have now conceded more goals (56) than in any previous Premier League campaign.

The result represented a new low in a dire season for United, who will also set their lowest-ever Premier League points tally, sitting on 58 – six fewer than their 2013-14 mark with only one game to play.

Bruno Fernandes accepted the assessment from United supporters that the players "were not fit to wear the shirt", while interim manager Ralf Rangnick apologised for the humiliation at the Amex Stadium.

Neville believes he has never seen the United fans turn on their own players as they did on the south coast, which he suggests shows how bad the performance was.

"It's been a shocking few months. I can't wait for the season to end and to stop talking about them," he added. 

"I was delighted not to be on the Brighton game before it, during it and after it. I can't watch them because it doesn't represent anything that a football club should be, let alone Manchester United.

"The players are only damaging themselves to a point where the fans won't forget. They were singing 'you're not fit to wear the shirt" – I have never, ever, heard United fans resort to that chant. That's a chant you would hear at QPR a few years ago or Sunderland when the fans were walking out.

"I have never known a United fanbase turn on a team like this one. It's now really clear the players have thrown the towel in. They really have. It's been a disgrace for a couple of months. It's embarrassing.

"[Incoming manager Erik] ten Hag has got a massive job to do."

Manchester United great David Beckham acknowledged change is required at Old Trafford, but hopes Cristiano Ronaldo will remain part of the Red Devils' future plans.

Ralf Rangnick's United delivered an abject showing in a 4-0 loss at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, meaning the Red Devils have conceded more goals (56) than in any previous Premier League campaign.

The result represented a new low in a dire season for United, who will also set their lowest-ever Premier League points tally, sitting on 58 – six fewer than their 2013-14 mark with only one game to play.

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag will replace Rangnick at the end of the season, but the Dutchman will be tasked with a sizeable rebuilding job, with numerous players out of contract and several signings required.

Paul Pogba is reportedly a target for neighbours Manchester City when his contract expires in June, while the future of Ronaldo remains under scrutiny as debates continue around the impact of the Portugal forward.

Ronaldo has scored nine of United's last 13 league goals across 11 matches, taking his tally to a club-leading 18 in the Premier League this campaign.

However, questions persist as to the influence the former Real Madrid man has on United's pressing. Nevertheless, Beckham wants Ronaldo to feature as an integral part of Ten Hag's plans next term.

"Obviously Cristiano is one of the best players over the last 15 years, with Leo [Messi]," Beckham told Sky Sports while attending the Miami Grand Prix.

"To see him stay on, hopefully at United, is important for the fans. It's important to him – we all know how much Man United means to him. He's still doing what he does best, scoring goals. That's what Cristiano does.

"To be doing what he's doing at his age is really incredible, so hopefully it continues for another year or two."

Beckham, who won six Premier League titles and a Champions League at United, also knows significant change is required to transform his former side into a competitive force again.

"I think there are changes to be made and changes that are happening, we've seen that," Beckham said.

"It's been a tough end to the season. But it is the end of the season, I'm sure a lot of the fans are thankful of that because it's been a tough one – full of ups and downs.

"The players have done what they can do best, so has the manager. I turned up at the stadium a few months back and every seat was filled so the fans still believe, they support, they turn up for the team.

"It's what United fans do. There's not many teams to have gone through what they've gone through in the last few years and still be filling out their stadium. There will be changes."

Beckham's former team-mate Peter Schmeichel, who made 292 league appearances for United and was a part of the famous treble-winning 1999 side, believes Ten Hag's arrival offers the Red Devils the perfect opportunity to change.

"It's not nice to watch," Schmeichel said before the Formula One event. "It's difficult to understand but also to put a finger on exactly what is wrong.

"We've been struggling since Alex [Ferguson] left the club. We've been spending a lot of money and we've got somewhere, but not far enough.

"With Erik ten Hag coming in now, it is an opportunity for change and I think this is what we want – maybe modernise the club a bit, restructure the club. That is what I'm looking forward to."

Manchester United great Rio Ferdinand lamented the Red Devils for "downing tools" at Brighton and Hove Albion as he questioned the fight of his former side.

Ralf Rangnick's men were thumped 4-0 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday as Moises Caicedo, Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard were all on target for Graham Potter's dominant hosts.

Rangnick, who will be replaced by Erik ten Hag at the end of the season, apologised for the humiliating defeat, while Bruno Fernandes accepted United supporters' assessment that the players were "not fit to wear the shirt".

This is set to go down as United's worst season in the Premier League era, having conceded their most goals in a single campaign (56) and fallen short of their record low for points, sitting on 58, six fewer than their 2013-14 mark with only a game to play.

Ferdinand, speaking on his YouTube podcast 'FIVE', heaped criticism on his old club as he expressed his dismay at United's situation.

"We are getting mocked every week," said Ferdinand, who won six Premier League titles and a Champions League at United. "We have gone down to Brighton to the seaside for a day out.

"We got pumped and sent back home. There is no fight, there is no character, and it seems there is no desire. People have downed tools, it seems.

"We are getting smashed 4-0 at Brighton. Listen, they are a decent team, but United shouldn't be getting beat 4-0 like that. 

"This is a terrible situation and I really wonder what it is like in that changing room.

"Is there anyone standing up? Are there any characters that are picking people up, or is everyone in there thinking that it has gone now? We have gone, and that is it."

Ralf Rangnick apologised to Manchester United's supporters after what he said was their worst performance under his management, as the Red Devils capitulated in a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Brighton and Hove Albion.

United fell behind to Moises Caicedo's first-half strike before Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross, and Leandro Trossard scored second-half goals to condemn the Red Devils to a humiliating defeat at the Amex Stadium. 

The Red Devils have now conceded more league goals this season (56) than they have in any other Premier League campaign, and with 58 points after 37 games, are guaranteed to record their lowest points tally in the competition (previously 64 in 2013-14).

Meanwhile, the Red Devils have now conceded four or more goals in 12 separate Premier League games since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, as many times as they did in 810 games under him in the competition.

Speaking to BT Sport after United's fifth consecutive away league defeat, Rangnick rejected the idea that his players had "ignored" his game plan but called the defeat "humiliating".

Asked whether the loss was the worst he had experienced since arriving at Old Trafford, Rangnick replied: "It was. From the first to the last minute this was just not enough, in all important areas we were second best and we can only apologise to our supporters. 

"It was a terrible performance and a humiliating defeat. Today, from the first minute we gave them too much time, too much space, we were never in a position where we could stop them playing through our lines.

"I don't think that they ignored the game plan, but we were just not able to stop them, we gave them too much time and space and if you do that against a technically good team like Brighton, this is the result."

Meanwhile, the Seagulls' comprehensive victory represented the biggest top-flight win in their history, in what was their 365th game at this level.

Rangnick attempted to change the game at the break by introducing Edinson Cavani and Fred, and despite three of Brighton's four goals arriving in the second period, maintained something had to change after United failed to register a shot on target in the first half.

"As I said, it was very, very difficult in the first half to stop them at all. In the second half we took the risk to bring on Edinson as a second striker plus Fred, and play 4-4-2", he added.

"In hindsight, maybe it was too much of a risk to play in a 4-4-2 against them but we had to change the energy, today we were just second best in all relevant areas. 

"Had we continued to play as we did in the first half it would only have been a question of time when we conceded the second goal, that's why I decided to take more of a risk with the 4-4-2. But with two early goals, it was a disaster for us. As a team, we didn't defend at all."

Rangnick now has just one match left in the Old Trafford dugout, with United rounding off their frustrating season with a final-day trip to Crystal Palace before Erik ten Hag takes charge.

Looking back on his tenure at United, Rangnick who will assume a consultancy position after vacating his coaching role, claims his side were "on the right pathway" for much of his time in charge, though admitted the Red Devils have been "really poor" recently.

"I think we have to split it into two different halves. Until the West Ham game [a 1-0 win in late January] or even the Tottenham game [a 3-2 victory in March], we had very good performances, when we beat Tottenham at home, West Ham at home, when we won [4-2] at Leeds, it was a completely different level of energy.

"But in games like today, or at Everton [a 1-0 defeat last month], it was a lack of energy, of aggressiveness. If you play like that without the ball you cannot win a game.

"When the call came in November it was clear I wanted to come, and as I said, in the first three or four months we were on the right pathway, we were in three competitions and had really good performances, but in the last four, five, six weeks, we were really poor."

Manchester United produced a terrible performance to fall to a fifth consecutive away loss in the Premier League as Brighton and Hove Albion thrashed the Red Devils 4-0 at the Amex Stadium.

Moises Caicedo struck a fine first-half effort beyond David de Gea, but worse was to come for United after half-time as Brighton took advantage of a dismal performance from their visitors.

Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard each scored in quick succession, with the Belgium winger finishing with a goal and two assists.

The result marked a new low in the Red Devils' woeful season, with their tally of 56 Premier League goals conceded this term representing their most in a single campaign in the competition's history.

Ralf Rangnick opted not to restore fit-again captain Harry Maguire to his defence, which was breached after 15 minutes when Caicedo drilled a brilliant finish into the bottom-left corner from outside the area.

Victor Lindelof was forced into a last-ditch clearance after a flowing move from the dominant hosts, before Danny Welbeck lobbed over the bar after latching onto Raphael Varane's poor touch.

Rangnick introduced Fred and Edinson Cavani after watching his team fail to register a shot on target before the break, but Cucurella then side-footed home from Trossard's 49th-minute cutback.

Brighton ended the game as a contest after 57 minutes when Gross produced a neat left-footed finish after taking Trossard's pass into his stride, and they were in dreamland as the creator turned scorer three minutes later, bundling in from close range after Welbeck's chipped effort.

Brighton almost had a fifth after 65 minutes when Diogo Dalot deflected Alexis Mac Allister's effort against his own post, while Welbeck also narrowly missed the target again as United endured another day to forget – Cavani's consolation ruled out for offside at the other end.

What does it mean? Red Devils confirm worst Premier League showing

United's capitulation saw the positivity of Monday's 3-0 win over Brentford evaporate and confirmed the 2021-22 season will be their worst ever in the Premier League.

With 58 points and just one game remaining, Rangnick's team will finish with their lowest points tally in the competition, unable to match the 64 they earned in 2013-14 under David Moyes and Ryan Giggs.

United stunned again

United have now conceded four or more goals in 12 separate Premier League matches since Alex Ferguson's 2013 retirement, as many as they did in 810 games under him in the competition.

Away-day woes continue

Following up defeats at Manchester City, Everton, Liverpool and Arsenal with another on the road, this is United's worst such run since they lost six away league games in a row between December 1980 and March 1981.

They could yet match that sequence when they go to Crystal Palace on the Premier League's final day.

What's next?

Brighton's penultimate Premier League match sees them travel to Leeds United next Sunday, while United have just one game remaining this term, away at Palace on May 22.

Manchester United were left short of attacking options due to the board's refusal to sign a forward late in January, according to Ralf Rangnick.

Rangnick took interim charge in November after the dismissal of club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and arrived as a highly acclaimed operator in the transfer market after his technical role at RB Leipzig.

United fans may have been hopeful the German would be allowed to deliver some transfer gems, having previously signed the likes of Erling Haaland, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for small fees while at RB Salzburg.

However, United were instead left with a shortage of strikers after the unsettled Anthony Martial was loaned to Sevilla and Mason Greenwood was suspended indefinitely by the club with three days left in January.

Rangnick eyed moves for Dusan Vlahovic, who subsequently left Fiorentina for Juventus, Manchester City-bound Julian Alvarez, and Luis Diaz, who joined Liverpool from Porto, but none came to fruition.

That left United to rely on the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored nine of their last 13 league goals across 10 matches, with Edinson Cavani hampered by fitness and injury issues.

"The answer at the time was no there was no player on the market that could really help us – there were a few, Diaz who is now at Liverpool, Alvarez who will be at Manchester City in the summer, Vlahovic who at the time still was with Fiorentina those are just three of them that come across my mind now," said Rangnick.

"We had four days off at the time and on the Sunday I was informed about the issues with Mason Greenwood and obviously Anthony Martial had already left.

"Then I was aware that within four days we had some strikers missing and it might make sense, we were still in three competitions – Champions League, FA Cup and fourth in the league but that's the past and it doesn't help us anymore.

"I spoke to the board and said shouldn't we at least speak and try and analyse if we could get a player either on loan or as a permanent deal but in the end the answer was no.

"I still believe that we should have at least tried, if we would've found and been able in 48 hours, 48 hours is short notice but it's still 48 hours, it might have been worth to try and internally discuss but we didn't and it was not done."

Rangnick will move into a consultancy role at the end of the season, alongside his coaching commitments with Austria, and partner the incoming Erik ten Hag in an attempt to transform United's fortunes.

Ten Hag has already demanded some ruling over transfers, while Rangnick claimed United may need up to 10 players to compete.

Rangnick is under no illusions about how sizeable the rebuilding task will be at Old Trafford.

"If there is a good thing about the poor season we had so far it is that everybody now should be aware how big and where the problems are and what needs to be done to raise the level again and to be a serious title contender again – and this is what it's all about – to me it's obvious what needs to be done, this is what is most important," said Rangnick.

"If there hadn't been any problems before I came I wouldn't have come, probably Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] would still be sat here answering your questions.

"There were some problems the team already had at the end of November and as we all know in the first couple of months until the end of January we were improving, we conceded less goals, we had a point average of 2.1 after the West Ham game but then in that international break we lost three players and we had problems to score goals and find our balance."

"Now it's time to look ahead, now we have two games to play try to play as well as we possibly can, get as many points as we possibly can out of those two games. 

"Then together with Erik, together with the board, together with the scouting department, hopefully find and also convince the players, it's not only about finding them, scouting them you also have to convince them to come to Manchester United."

Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick has defended his decision not to play Jesse Lingard in what could have been the winger's final game at Old Trafford after receiving criticism from the player's brother.

Lingard was an unused substitute as the Red Devils ran out as 3-0 winners over Brentford in their final home league game of a frustrating season on Monday, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, and Raphael Varane on the scoresheet.

A number of players either confirmed or likely to leave Old Trafford, including Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Phil Jones, and Edinson Cavani, were given appearances by Rangnick, although Lingard was not afforded a farewell outing ahead of his contract expiring in June.

That attracted the ire of the player's brother Louie Scott, who posted on Instagram: "20 years of blood sweat and tears, four domestic trophies, three cup final goals, not even a farewell. No wonder it's Conference League next year."

But Rangnick insists he has done more for Lingard than several past United bosses, and listed several factors affecting his decision not to play the 29-year-old.

"Well to start with, I think in the last couple of weeks under my tenure, he has played far more games than he used to before I came," Rangnick said.

"Number two, on gameday against Chelsea [last Thursday] he contacted me at the hotel and asked me to release him from the game and to also release him from the training session two days after the Chelsea game, for some personal family reasons, and I allowed him to do that.

"This was the reason, and with only three substitutions, unfortunately – in all the other leagues you have five – I had to take a decision between bringing on Cavani or Lingard, or even the young Alejandro Garnacho, who I also would have loved to bring on and give him a chance after being 3-0 up.

"I took the decision to bring on Edinson for the very reasons I just explained. If I hadn't brought on Edinson maybe someone else would have posted 'it was classless not to bring on Cavani', or someone else would have posted 'why didn't the manager bring on Garnacho?'

"You have to take a decision. This will not be to the liking of everybody, but it's part of the game."

Lingard has made 22 appearances for the Red Devils in all competitions this season, although only four of those have been starts and the 29-year-old has only featured for a total of 548 minutes.

United are looking to avoid a fifth consecutive away league defeat when they travel to Brighton and Hove Albion in their penultimate game of the Premier League season on Saturday, with their current run of four consecutive league losses on the road already their worst such streak since the 1980-1981 season (a run of six).

Harry Maguire is in line for a return to action when Manchester United travel to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday, Ralf Rangnick has confirmed.

The United captain has not played since the Red Devils fell to a crushing 4-0 defeat at rivals Liverpool on April 19.

He was only the bench four days later as United lost to Arsenal 3-1, with Rangnick confirming the mental toll of a bomb threat made against Maguire was one reason for leaving him out.

A knee injury then forced him to miss the 1-1 draw with Chelsea and United's 3-0 defeat of Brentford.

United sit sixth in the Premier League table, five points behind fourth-placed Arsenal going in to the final two games of Rangnick's tenure as interim manager.

Maguire has been criticised after playing his part in just seven clean sheets in 35 appearances across all competitions this term but should return at the Amex Stadium, although Rangnick refused to say whether he would start.

Fellow England international Marcus Rashford, however, has been ruled out after suffering from a bout of bronchitis.

"Harry is back in training, he trained the whole week, the second day after the Brentford game he resumed training, so he will be available and will be part of the group," Rangnick told his pre-match press conference.

"This [whether will start Maguire] is a decision I have to make after training today, obviously I don't want to tell our opponents the line-up with which we will start, but he will definitely be part of the group.

"Edinson [Cavani] is in training, obviously he came on as a sub [against Brentford], [but] Marcus Rashford will be missing, he has caught bronchitis, with a high temperature, so he won't be able to be part of the group."

United will defend an excellent head-to-head record against the Seagulls when they travel to the south coast: they have won each of their previous seven games against Brighton in all competitions, their longest ongoing winning run against another current Premier League side.

However, the Red Devils have lost each of their past four away Premier League games, as many as they had in the previous 42 on their travels, making it the club's longest run of consecutive league reverses on the road since a streak of six between December 1980 and March 1981.

However, as Rangnick prepares to make way for Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag and assume a consultancy role at the end of the season, he reiterated his belief that the future is bright at Old Trafford, saying he was pleased to see his players enjoying their football against the Bees last time out.

"In last two home games we got four points, and the Brentford game was one of our best games in the last six months. I'm positive that the team will try to play on the same level tomorrow and in two weeks' time against Crystal Palace," he added.

"Once again, what I liked about the game was you could see they had fun playing together, that they were enjoying themselves on the pitch, and this is exactly the kind of approach we need for tomorrow as well.

"I think it was visible against Brentford, you could see they enjoyed themselves on the pitch. This does not mean everything was perfect, but in possession we were controlling the game.

"With regard to next season, there will be some changes, obviously. There are some players whose contracts are expiring, with new players to join us here, in the end it's also a thing that needs to be discussed with Erik and the board.

"Erik needs to tell the board which players he wants to work with, but I'm positive with the right new players, plus the players that are already here, the pathway could be a very positive one, this is what we will all try to achieve.

"We will definitely speak at the end of the season. Both Erik and myself want to have our full focus on the outstanding games, he has another three games to play and will do everything to try to win the title in the Netherlands.

"We have agreed we will chat and speak about everything at the end of the season."

Anthony Elanga is eager at the prospect of working under Erik ten Hag when he eventually takes over as manager at Manchester United.

Despite a turbulent season that saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dismissed in November, the 20-year-old Elanga has progressed under his interim replacement, Ralf Rangnick.

Elanga was not in a first-team squad in the Premier League this season until Rangnick's arrival and since then has made 19 league appearances.

However, Ten Hag's football with Ajax has Elanga excited with what he can bring to Old Trafford.

"You can see the way Ajax are playing in Europe," he told Sky Sports. "He's a great manager with a fantastic record in Europe. I've seen how good he is with developing young players, so that's one of the reasons I'm really excited to work with him.

"Obviously we're focused on finishing the season strongly, but we're also feeling very, very positive about next year. His experience in Europe, developing young players like myself and we've got other young players coming up. He'll bring exciting football to Old Trafford.

"It all starts from pre-season and how we take in his instructions and tactics. He'll be a great addition to the club and I'm really, really excited to work with him."

Elanga has started to establish himself at United, with 25 appearances in all competitions this season, claiming three goals and two assists in that time.

The attacker believes the difficulty of this campaign at Old Trafford, that will likely result in a failure to qualify for the Champions League, has still provided him an important learning experience.

"Playing 25 games for the first team and making my international debut, I've personally learnt a huge amount," Elanga said.

"Despite what's happened this season, I still feel I've learnt a lot and I'm ready to take my game to the next level next season."

Manchester United will next face Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

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