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Man Utd survive storm in Leeds to strengthen grip on top four

Ralf Rangnick said Manchester United’s fight back by extending another lead and beating Leeds 4-2 was the “best possible response” his side could give to reports of unrest in the dressing room.

Stories that Cristiano Ronaldo would replace Harry Maguire as United captain for the remainder of the season were this week dismissed as “nonsense” by Rangnick.

Maguire reacted by opening the score in the 34th minute before Bruno Fernandes added a second on the stroke of half-time.

Losing lead was a feature of Rangnick’s interim lead in charge and United were penalized for another slow start to the second half as Rodrigo’s lucky cross and substitute Raphinha leveled Leeds.

This time, United bounced back to find a winner as Fred knocked in 20 minutes before time before Anthony Elanga sealed the points late in the day.

“Today it was not only important that we won the game, but also how we reacted. That was the best possible reaction the team could give,” said Rangnick.

“You can only win a game like this today as a team.”

On their first competitive visit to Elland Road in front of a packed house in 19 years, the visitors were greeted with a hostile atmosphere and a difficult field in incessant rain.

United managed to weather the first storm in Leeds and took control of the first half.

– Maguire responds –

Maguire who broke the deadlock and United’s streak of not scoring from a corner for over a year with a powerful header from Luke Shaw’s delivery.

“I’m ashamed of the stat,” Maguire said. “I’m a big part of that regular game routine, but as a team we haven’t been good enough. If we scored more from set pieces, we would be higher in the rankings.”

Added five minutes from time to the end of the first half before a head injury to Robin Koch, United doubled their lead when Jadon Sancho’s inviting cross found Fernandes unmarked to pass Ilan Meslier.

United had built a lead in three of their last four games at halftime, but each time it was a one-goal advantage.

Marcelo Bielsa, the Leeds boss, described it this week as a commitment to keep his club at the highest level but made the bold decision to bench top scorer Raphinha after knocking the Brazilian out in the 3rd half at halftime. Last week’s -0 defeat at Everton.

Bielsa swallowed his pride at halftime to introduce Raphinha and Leeds were level within nine minutes of the restart thanks to two goals in 60 seconds.

First, a cross from Rodrigo flew over David De Gea’s head into the far corner.

With the crowd still on their feet, Leeds scored again when Adam Forshaw’s strong challenge to Bruno Fernandes was not penalized and Daniel James’ cross was cashed in by Raphinha at the back post.

“We definitely had to start the second half better,” added Maguire. “We knew it was a difficult place to come, but we knew we had qualities and could hurt them.”

As conditions deteriorated under a torrential downpour, Rangnick turned to his bench in what appeared to be an attempt to tighten up his midfield with the introduction of Fred to Paul Pogba.

But it was the Brazilian who took the win, as a wild game had another swing as he pushed Sancho’s pass into the near post.

Another Rangnick substitute then ensured that there would be no second comeback from Leeds, as Elanga closed quietly after Fernandes robbed Pascal Struijk.

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