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Ralf Rangnick believes Schalke can play without fear in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Manchester United.

Schalke were beaten 2-0 at home by United on Tuesday evening after being outclassed by the Premier League leaders for much of the night.

Highly-rated goalkeeper Manuel Neuer kept the scoreline respectable, but Schalke are now huge underdogs to reach next month’s final at Wembley.

“I cannot criticise the fighting spirit we displayed, we have only been together for five weeks, it’s more the tactical things that I find fault with,” said Rangnick, who only recently took over as Schalke coach.

“We will not capitulate and will have to try to improve several things in the return leg.

“United are in the driving seat, of course, but a lot of things have happened in football and we’ve already shown that we can score goals away from home.

“Maybe United will be too sure that they’ll progress now. Who knows? We’ll see. We can play there without any inhibitions and have absolutely nothing to lose.”

Neuer’s performance in goal drew lavish praise from United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Rangnick believes the performance explains why the player is in demand at the moment.

He added: “From 15 minutes on we did something wrong with every United attack, making poor decisions, offering them too much room and standing around in space without attacking.

“They threatened with every attack and we had Manuel Neuer to thank for not being one, two or even three goals down at half-time.

“If you have followed his development in recent years you would know that there is no better goalkeeper in Europe or anywhere else.”

Neuer took no satisfaction from his own display as he reflected on the evening.

“That doesn’t help me at all,” said the German international. “We lose together and the disappointment is bigger than everything else. We’ve lost a home match very clearly and had hoped for more. We didn’t get into the game, we were always a step behind.

“They have a really experienced and clever team and we were probably too in awe of them. We don’t have 11 Rauls on the pitch – we have many young players without the experience he has but the respect of our team [towards United] was really big, probably too big.”

Fulham host Bolton in tonight’s Premier League action – see the best odds on every market here…

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