Paul Pogba, whose Man Utd contract runs out at the end of the season, returned to the starting line-up but struggled to make an impact against Norwich and was replaced by Juan Mata in the 74th minute; Pogba was then jeered by supporters as he made his way off the pitch
Sunday 17 April 2022 09:43, UK
Ralf Rangnick insists it is not right to target individuals after Paul Pogba was booed off the pitch by some Manchester United supporters during Saturday's 3-2 win over Norwich in the Premier League.
Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick at Old Trafford boosted United's hopes of a top-four finish following defeats for rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, but the result glossed over another underwhelming performance and the home fans were not afraid to show their discontent.
Pogba, whose United contract runs out at the end of the season, returned to the starting line-up but struggled to make an impact against the Premier League's bottom side and was replaced by Juan Mata in the 74th minute with the score at 2-2.
The United midfielder was then jeered as he made his way off the pitch before cupping his ears to a particularly critical corner as he went down the tunnel at full-time.
Although Rangnick admits he did not hear the boos from a section of disgruntled supporters, he insists he does not agree with their actions.
"I didn't hear it myself, to be honest," Rangnick said. "But we were talking about it with my staff in my office in the locker room.
"I think the fans here are amazing, I really do. The support in the stadium today was again great, it couldn't have been any better.
"I can understand if that the fans are frustrated and disappointed - so are we. Things have stayed, as far as I know, peaceful all the time.
"I don't think it makes sense to take on and to target any individual person or players because it's a collective responsibility.
"Even if you look into the past, for me it doesn't make sense and this is why I will always defend and protect my players."
The individual brilliance of Pogba's team-mate Ronaldo has put United just three points behind fourth-placed Spurs as the season heads into its final few weeks, but Rangnick's side continue to look defensively vulnerable.
Norwich had only scored eight away goals in the Premier League this campaign before their trip to Manchester. Having had 15 shots in the game, Dean Smith's side will undoubtedly feel hard done by not to have come away from Old Trafford with at least a point.
Rangnick said: "We didn't defend well. Both goals we should have defended much better and David de Gea kept us in the game with a brilliant save.
"Overall, it was highly important to win the game, but the way that we played defensively after being 2-0 up was not enough.
"It's a question of intensity and physicality. Before the first goal, we had the ball at our feet at the sideline but if you are not physical enough in those moments to protect the ball then you can even lose the ball in those areas and within a few seconds they had a free header in our own box.
"It doesn't make sense to look and just be interested in the other results, we have to take care of our own results. Today we got the result but with the overall performance, we definitely have to raise that level against Liverpool on Tuesday and the same away at Arsenal and at home against Chelsea."
As for Ronaldo, he has now scored 60 hat-tricks in his professional career and has 21 goals for United this season in all competitions.
"Like against Tottenham, he was very crucial today," Rangnick added. "The second and the third one were not easy goals, the way he took those two goals was just outstanding."
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