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.

‘Bruno’s chance was like a penalty’

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Courtney Sweetman-Kirk says that Manchester United should have been out of sight following their shock penalty shoot-out defeat to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup.

“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.

The Uruguay striker was given additional time off after international duty and Rangnick said Lingard requested time to clear his head after a January exit was blocked – something the player has denied.

‘No Lingard, Cavani regrets’

Elanga miss
Image: Man Utd players and Ralf Rangnick console Anthony Elanga after his penalty miss

Asked if he regrets those decisions, the United boss said: “No, because he played for Uruguay on Wednesday.

“With the jet lag and the travel arrangements, I don’t think it would have made sense. He would not have been in the squad anyway.

“And with regard to Jesse, I told you what my information was and my knowledge was, and of course I would have loved to have Jesse in the squad.

“We were one outfield player less on the team sheet today, so why should I have allowed him to have four or five days off?

“I would have loved to have had him in the squad and be in the squad, but it was not the case and therefore it doesn’t make sense to speak about players who were not available.”

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.

United apologise to fans

Meanwhile, United have released a statement apologising to fans after a technical issue meant there was no food or drink available at half-time.

The stadium announcement led for fans to call for club owners the Glazer family to leave.

A United statement read: “We can confirm that Old Trafford was affected by a power surge shortly before tonight’s game and this caused the failure of some stadium systems, including tills in our food and beverage kiosks. We sincerely regret the disappointment and inconvenience this caused fans. All remaining hot and perishable food was given away for free to supporters as they left the stadium.”

Keane: Not good enough from Man Utd

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the English FA Cup fourth round soccer match between Manchester United and Middlesbrough at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022.
Image: Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the English FA Cup fourth round soccer match between Manchester United and Middlesbrough at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022.

Sky Sports’ Roy Keane speaking on ITV:

“You have to be critical of Manchester United. First half, they were fantastic, but they are playing a Championship team at home in the cup.

“Obviously, it’s not good enough. Defeat changes the mood. It changes the mood in the ground as well.

“The fans would have been thinking they would win tonight and, being at home, I fully expected them to beat a Championship team.

“But now, it just adds more and more pressure to the upcoming games.”

Wilder: The FA Cup’s alive and kicking

Matt Crooks celebrates Middlesbrough's controversial equaliser
Image: Matt Crooks celebrates Middlesbrough’s controversial equaliser

As for Boro, manager Wilder is delighted to be in Sunday’s fifth-round draw after a night of grit and drama.

“The FA Cup’s alive and kicking, especially in Middlesbrough tonight,” he said. “The scenes at the end. I spoke to the players about making memories.

“We were up against world-class players and rode our luck at times, but we showed plenty of spirit and took one of our opportunities.”

When is the FA Cup fifth round draw?

Middlesbrough players celebrate at Old Trafford
Image: Middlesbrough players celebrate at Old Trafford

The FA Cup fifth round draw takes place on Sunday, February 6.

It will take place before Liverpool’s clash against Cardiff, and that is expected to be at around 11.30am.

Still to come in the FA Cup this weekend…

FA Cup fourth-round ties…

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