Ralf Rangnick admits he didn't know how intense Man United vs Leeds rivalry was until this week

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Ralf Rangnick admits he didn’t know how intense Man United vs Leeds rivalry was until this week but is confident his players can handle the white hot Elland Road atmosphere

  • Manchester United head to Leeds United in the Premier League on Sunday
  • Last season’s Elland Road clash was played behind closed doors amid pandemic
  • Interim boss Ralf Rangnick was only informed of intense rivalry this week
  • But he believes his players can handle a hostile atmosphere at Elland Road 


Ralf Rangnick believes the Leeds hate mob will bring the best out of Manchester United at Elland Road on Sunday.

United haven’t faced the Leeds fans in West Yorkshire for more than a decade after last season’s clash was played behind closed doors due to the pandemic.

United won on their last visit to Elland Road in the League Cup in September 2011, but last played there in the Premier League 18-and-a-half years ago when Roy Keane scored a late winner.

Ralf Rangnick admitted he wasn't aware of the intense rivalry between Man United and Leeds

Ralf Rangnick admitted he wasn’t aware of the intense rivalry between Man United and Leeds 

Last season's meeting of the two rivals was played behind closed doors at Elland Road

Last season’s meeting of the two rivals was played behind closed doors at Elland Road

Interim boss Rangnick has only recently learned about the rivalry between the two clubs, but insists the white-hot atmosphere will only help his players to raise their game.

‘To be honest, I didn’t know that until a week ago but most of my colleagues have indicated this is one of the biggest rivalries in the Premier League,’ said United’s interim manager.

‘I also had quite a few of those in Germany, Schalke against Borussia Dortmund for example and quite a few others.

‘But our team and players have so much experience playing against teams like that in this atmosphere, and it will hopefully raise out level of performance to play in this environment.

‘Last season it was behind closed doors because of Covid restrictions and it’s the first game in a full stadium since they last played in the Premier League 18 years ago.

It has been 18 years since the two Uniteds met in a league game at Elland Road with a crowd

It has been 18 years since the two Uniteds met in a league game at Elland Road with a crowd

Man United fixtures 

Premier League unless stated

Sunday Leeds United (A)

February 23 Atletico Madrid (A)

Champions League last-16, first leg

February 26 Watford (H)

March 6 Manchester City (A)

March 12 Tottenham (H)

March 15 Atletico Madrid (H)

Champions League last-16, second leg

‘It’s great. Everybody prefers to play in a sold-out stadium and it’s good. We’re looking forward to that game.’

Rangnick is also expecting a unique challenge from Marcel Bielsa’s team, but warned that the Argentine’s style also leaves Leeds open to conceding goals.

Although last season’s encounter at Elland Road finished goalless, Leeds’ two visits to Old Trafford since returning to the Premier League ended in 5-1 and 6-2 thrashings.

‘They are playing in a very special way in two aspects,’ added Rangnick. ‘They are trying to play fast transitional football, give and go. Whenever they pass the ball, they try to increase the tempo of the game.

‘This is probably a team that plays with the highest amount of tempo momentum, and it’s important we don’t allow them to play like that.

‘On the other hand, they concede quite a few goals, the highest percentage apart from Norwich. We are well prepared for the game and will try to prepare the team for 94 minutes and stick to the game plan.’

United will once again be without Edinson Cavani after the Uruguay striker failed to recover from a groin injury.

United striker Edinson Cavani is still out of action with a groin problem and will miss the game

United striker Edinson Cavani is still out of action with a groin problem and will miss the game

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