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‘A good win’ – Rangnick reacts as Man United beat Aston Villa 1-0 in FA Cup

Manchester United booked their place in the fourth round of the FA after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford tonight.

Ralf Rangnick’s side started full of something that has been sadly lacking from recent performances, energy and intent, and they would be rewarded on eight minutes when Scott McTominay put them ahead. McTominay’s midfield partner Fred picked up the ball on the right hand side and fired a superb delivery into the area which the Scotland international expertly glanced past Villa ‘keeper Emi Martinez.

Another faucet of Man United’s play this season has been their defensive shakiness, and that soon began to rear it’s ugly head. Firstly, Villa attacker Ollie Watkins hit just wide from close range after a flick on from a corner, before the England international then pounced on a poor touch from Victor Lindelof and hammered against the crossbar from close range.

The Red Devils almost went two up just before the break, but Marcus Rashford blew the chance to play Mason Greenwood in for a tap in at the back post, instead scuffing a tame effort that was blocked by Matty Cash.

Villa were much the better of the sides after the second-half began, and it looked like Danny Ings had drawn the scores level. However, the striker’s tap in from a free-kick was disallowed due to Jacob Ramsey’s blocking Edison Cavani as the ball was floated into the area.

Not long after that the lively Watkins put the ball into the net after David de Gea had got a touch on a Ings strike, but once again VAR would step in and chalk off the goal, this time for offside.

Then on what were becoming increasingly rare forays forward for Man United, Greenwood forced Martinez into a decent stop after being played through down the left by Bruno Fernandes.

Steven Gerrard’s team were by far the better of the sides over the 90 minutes and they continued to pile on the pressure right up until the final whistle, although they would be unable to carve out many more clean cut chances and United held on to earn the right to face Middlesbrough in the fourth round.

Speaking afterward’s United manager Rangnick was pleased with the reaction his side showed after last week’s poor showing in the 1-0 defeat to Wolves.

“I think we showed a reaction after the Wolves game, that is what everyone expected from us,” Rangnick told BBC Sport.

”We knew it would be very difficult against Villa. In the first half I thought we did well. It could have been 3-2 or 4-3 to us at half time.

“In the second half we were on the counter attack and we could have made more of those situations. We took the wrong decisions at times but when we changed to a diamond in midfield we had more control.

“In the last 20 minutes we had more control. We fought well as a team together when it was important. In the end it was a good win. That was our goal, to proceed to the next round.”

When asked about matchwinner McTominay, the German coach was effusive in his praise of the homegrown youngster.

“He is an academy boy, his energy is amazing,” Rangnick gushed.

”He now also starts scoring goals and also with some leadership skills. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a couple of years he would be the captain of this team.”

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