Ralf Rangnick claimed Manchester United was far from faultless after gaining a much-needed 1-0 victory against Aston Villa to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Scott McTominay headed in the lone goal after just eight minutes, but Villa was left to lament a plethora of squandered opportunities and a contentious VAR review that ruled out an equalizer from Danny Ings in the second half.
Interim boss Rangnick sorely needed a reaction to a week of turmoil in the United camp that followed a terrible performance in losing 1-0 at home to Wolves.
One crucial choice was taken out of the German’s hands as Cristiano Ronaldo was not fit to feature.
But there was no improvement in the performance despite holding out to set up a fourth-round showdown at home to Middlesbrough.
United got the spark they needed to soothe the nerves as Fred’s exquisite cross picked up McTominay to slam in a downward header.
However, all of the weaknesses that have marred a shambolic season under two managers for the Red Devils were immediately evident as Villa controlled the game.
“To say that this was a perfect game, nobody would believe that. Of course, it was not,” said Rangnick.
“We still have quite a few things we can get better at, but a clean sheet was important today and we worked together. Still a lot of things to improve but it is easier to do that with a 1-0 win.”