Ralf Rangnick says wasteful Manchester United only have themselves to blame after making an embarrassing early FA Cup exit at home to Middlesbrough.
A year on from steering Sheffield United to a shock Old Trafford win, Chris Wilder led Championship side Boro to an even more surprising victory as the competition’s fourth round got off to a stunning start.
Jadon Sancho put United into a deserved lead after Cristiano Ronaldo uncharacteristically missed a penalty, but their continued profligacy in front of goal gave the visitors a chance to claw their way back.
Matt Crooks, a former United youth player and lifelong fan, levelled in the second half – a controversial goal given Duncan Watmore handled before he crossed – and Bruno Fernandes then somehow hit the post when he looked certain to score.
The match ended 1-1 and remained so after extra time, with United striker Anthony Elanga’s missed penalty eventually sealing Boro an 8-7 shoot-out win to the delight of the 9,500 visiting fans.
“We gave away too many chances, especially in the first half,” United interim manager Rangnick said.
“We should and could have easily been up 3-0 after 45 minutes and even in the second half we missed some great opportunities, even after they scored their goal that shouldn’t have stood.
“But Bruno’s chance was almost like a penalty as well, so we have to blame ourselves for giving away and wasting too many opportunities in the game.
“And, in the end, if it’s on penalties it’s also a question of luck and in the end we lost that game and we are all incredibly disappointed.”
Elanga was consoled by Ronaldo, among others, after his penalty miss, with supportive fans singing his name at the end of a night when Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard were absent.
United’s FA Cup exit means they now only have an outside chance of ending their five-year wait for a trophy with the Champions League their only route to silverware.