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Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts at the full time whistle in the match against Brighton who won 4-0. Image Credit: REUTERS

Brighton: Interim manager Ralf Rangnick apologised for Manchester United’s “humiliating” 4-0 drubbing by Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, a result that ended their faint hopes of playing in the Champions League next season.

Defeat left United trailing fourth-placed Arsenal by five points. With Rangnick’s team having just one match left, they cannot finish higher than their current sixth place in the standings and all the teams above them have games in hand.

In fact, they could finish lower in the standings if they are leapfrogged by West Ham United, who are six points behind them but have two games in hand.

'Terrible performance'

“It was a terrible performance. From the first until the last minute it was not enough. We can only apologise for this performance and a humiliating defeat,” said Rangnick, who will hand over coaching duties to Erik ten Hag at the end of the season.

United’s 3-0 win over Brentford earlier this week had raised hopes that they might manage to sneak into Europe’s premier club competition next season but it proved to be a short-lived pipe dream.

“(Mondays win over Brentford) was a different game, we just gave too much time and space (to Brighton),” added German Rangnick.

“We were never in a position where we could stop them playing through our lines, We told the players be as compact as they could but we couldnt stop it.”

United have lost three of their last five league games, leaking 12 goals during that run. It is little wonder the Old Trafford faithfuls have been left extremely frustrated as United have endured their worst-ever Premier League season for goals conceded, with the tally standing at 56 so far.

Angry fans

While defeats against top-four opposition Liverpool and Arsenal were not that surprising, the rout they suffered at Brighton left United’s fans so angry that they chanted youre not fit to wear the shirt during Saturday’s match.

“What we did today, what I did today, was not enough to be in a Manchester United shirt and I accept it,” midfielder Bruno Fernandes said.

His manager added: “In games like today and at Everton (when we were beaten 1-0), there was a lack of energy and aggression. In the first three or four months we were on the right pathway, but in the last four weeks we have been really poor.”