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Manchester United have announced Ralf Rangnick will not take up a consultant role with the club following his appointment last month as Austria manager.

The German took charge of United on an interim basis for the last six months of the season following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last November and oversaw a sixth-placed Premier League finish.

Rangnick was expected to remain at Old Trafford for the next two years in a consultancy position, but he was recently appointed the new Austria boss, and it seems holding the dual roles is an unviable option.

“We would like to thank Ralf Rangnick for his efforts as interim manager over the past six months,” a statement on United’s website read.

“By mutual agreement, Ralf will now focus solely on his new role as manager of the Austria national team and will not therefore be taking up a consultancy role at Old Trafford.

“We would like to wish Ralf the best of luck in this next chapter of his career.”

Erik Ten Hag has been tasked with reviving United’s fortunes after they missed out on Champions League football next season.

A haul of 58 points was their lowest in the Premier League era.

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Ralf Rangnick was thankful Brighton helped Manchester United qualify for next season’s Europa League following their own 1-0 loss away to Crystal Palace.

Rangnick left the hotseat by telling incoming boss Erik Ten Hag to focus on improving the team spirit at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils saw a sorry campaign end with another defeat after Wilfried Zaha’s first-half goal but they avoided the embarrassment of dropping into the Europa Conference League after West Ham were unable to win at Brighton.

It meant United finished the season in sixth but there would have been little positives for Ten Hag to take after he watched from the stand at Selhurst Park.

Rangnick said: “Yes, I think Brighton did us the favour to turn the game around because they were losing at half-time. They scored three times in the second half and that was the good thing about the weekend and about this fixture.

“We would have loved to take care of ourselves but in a way the game was indicative of last couple of weeks, especially when we played away from home.

“It was a new experience for me, not necessary coming in the middle of the season but knowing that it would be an interim role. Unfortunately we didn’t have any pre-season and unfortunately we couldn’t strengthen the squad.

“These things happen and in hindsight it was a little bit bittersweet or sweet bitter rather because in the first couple of weeks and months did well. We collected enough points with an average of 2.1 until the game against Atletico but I think that defeat in the Champions League was in a way like somebody popped the balloon.”

Ex-RB Leipzig manager Rangnick, who will continue to work with United in a consultancy role, did not hold back in his assessment key members of the Old Trafford squad lost focus after they exited the Champions League in March.

The Red Devils were fifth in the table before they were knocked out by Atletico and would win only two of their remaining nine matches.

Rangnick added: “I think the big goal of some of our top players was the Champions League and after this defeat to Atletico you could literally feel it in training that we did not have the same level of energy, focus and concentration in training.

“In the league if you are not playing at the best or highest level, and this also happened before I arrived, even against bottom teams like Watford you can concede four goals and this can happen.”

While Ten Hag was at Palace, he did not come into the United dressing room and Rangnick has also not spoken to the ex-Ajax boss in person.

The German plans to over the coming days and warned his successor of a key challenge at Old Trafford.

“Team spirit, yes this is also an issue,” Rangnick admitted. “I think this team could do with more cohesion, there could be more togetherness on the pitch.

“This is also important when we think of new players – when the board together with the manager are thinking about new players – that we make sure they are not only players that have the quality to strengthen the squad but they are players who will invest in the team spirit.”

Patrick Vieira saw his side claim another win to secure a 12th-place finish.

He said: “It was the best way to end the season, to win the game against United because of what they represent in the Premier League.

“I was really pleased because we won and we had another clean sheet at home so a good way to end the season.”

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Rangnick urges Sancho to replicate training performance on the pitch

Ralf Rangnick has urged Jadon Sancho to start replicating his training performance on the pitch for Manchester United after a hugely disappointing start to life at Old Trafford.

United spent a reported £72million on Sancho in pre-season, his move from Borussia Dortmund being long in the making after the club spent well over a year courting him.

Having left Manchester City as a teenager, Sancho blossomed into one of Europe’s most promising young players in the Bundesliga – his haul of 51 non-penalty goal involvements over 2019-20 and 2020-21 was bettered by just five players across the top five European leagues.

Of those 51, 27 were assists, with Thomas Muller (39), Kevin De Bruyne (32) and Lionel Messi (27) the only three to boast a higher tally.

While some critics have argued Sancho’s 16.0 expected assists (xA) in that time shows that his form was unsustainable, that was still an extremely high figure as he ranked 11th among the same group of players.

He has found life a little harder at United, though, registering just two goals as his only goal involvements. He ranks fifth in the squad for xA (2.0) and sixth for non-penalty xG (2.2) across all competitions, and this is not even a team that is thriving.

The England international came in for criticism after a particularly anonymous substitute appearance in the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa, though it would seem the Sancho playing in matches is almost unrecognisable to the one Rangnick sees in training.

“Whenever I see him train, he’s showing that he’s one of the best players in the training sessions,” Rangnick said.

“But now it’s about transferring that to when he’s playing, and showing the same kind of level and performance on the pitch.

“I said that to him, by the way, the day before yesterday: ‘Confirm the performances you show in training when you’re playing on the pitch.’

“For me, it’s not at all a question of his position. It’s clear that in a 4-3-3 he’s a player for either of the two wing positions, either left or right. He can play both.

“I think he would prefer a little bit the left side, because he can then switch inside and have a go on goal or shoot on goal with his strong foot.

“But for me, there’s no question, no doubt about his position. He’s a winger. He’s somebody who can dribble fast with ball, and for me it’s not at all a question of which is the best possible position for him.”

Pressed for a potential explanation for Sancho’s struggles, Rangnick was hardly definitive, but he did offer a few theories, namely greater demands physically and psychologically.

“It’s difficult to say. I think it’s a different league, it’s a different competition. It’s more physical,” Rangnick continued.

“Now he’s playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. I think it’s also got to do with a lot of different things up here in his head. It’s a difference if you come as an 18-year-old, unknown, a talented English boy to Borussia Dortmund.

“From then on, you can only improve; you can only make a success out of that. The level of expectation was a lot lower compared to the situation when, at the age of 21, you come to a club like Manchester United for a high transfer fee, with a high level of expectation.

“Everybody expected from him that he would be one of the best players in the team. Again, this is psychologically, emotionally a more challenging situation than the one he had at Borussia Dortmund, and these are exactly the kind of steps that he has to make to become a top player for the next 10 years for this club.”

Rangnick is optimistic Sancho will rediscover his confidence with a few more decisive actions in the final third, though he did warn the 21-year-old that only he can take those steps, there is only so much those helping him can do.

“With those kinds of players, creative, offensive players, it’s all about confidence. It’s all about having that confidence, being aware how good they can be and then showing it in front of 75,000, or 45,000 at Villa Park.

“Of course, in the end he has to do that. He has [to make] that step again. As I said, in most training sessions he’s training on a very high level. Now it’s about having the transfer onto the pitch in the Premier League, in the FA Cup and in the Champions League.

“He can do that; he has the ability to do that. There is no doubt about that, but now we have to develop him into that kind of player, showing the same kind of performances that he showed at Borussia Dortmund.

“We can give him the guidelines, we can give him helping hands and show him that we are trying to accompany him on this way, and give all the necessary assistance that he needs, but in the end it’s up to him to take those next steps.”

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Ralf Rangnick has given his Manchester United squad a clean bill of health after the club’s Covid-19 outbreak and called on the Premier League to aid player welfare by again allowing five substitutes per game.

United are set to return to action at Newcastle on Monday following a 16-day break which saw their Premier League games against Brentford and Brighton postponed.

Only the injured Paul Pogba is unavailable at St James’ Park, with interim manager Rangnick admitting he has major selection decisions to make after 25 outfield players trained on Wednesday.

Rangnick said: “The last training session we had eight outfield players and three goalkeepers and then we closed down the training ground for four days in order to break the chain.

“Today was the third day of training this week and we had 25 outfield players.

“The development of the last week was extremely positive. As far as I could see in training they are all in good shape.

“They did their homework. They all have their schedule to train at home.

“They stick to that schedule and programme and from what I saw in training most of them – if not all of them – might be available.”

Players and staff have made a staggered return to the club’s Carrington training base this week as United seek to regain momentum from Rangnick’s first two league games.

United recorded 1-0 wins over Crystal Palace and Norwich, but the 63-year-old German says the English game would benefit from again permitting managers to make five substitutions during games.

The temporary rule was first introduced in May 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing teams two extra substitutes, instead of the standard three, to support player welfare amid a congested fixture schedule.

Despite widespread concerns over player-fatigue within the game, the Premier League was the only top league in Europe to revert to a maximum of three substitutes in a condensed 2020-21 campaign.

Rangnick said: “As far as I remember it was decided that every team could substitute five players when Covid started one-and-a-half years ago.

“I think it was the right decision to have more options to change players to save energy for players, especially if they have just recovered from Covid.

“The same is true right now. We have a similar situation to one-and-a-half years ago, so I see no reason why it shouldn’t be the same now.

“As far as I know in Europe, England is the only country that only allows three subs. In the other four big leagues in Europe you can substitute five players.

“If you have eight outfield players on the team sheet you should always be able to replace five.

“If you can only replace three of them you will always have five players on the bench who can not play.

“I think it would be a great help to have five subs, it would increase the emotional situation in the squad.

“It’s about game time. I haven’t spoken with the players about that, but I don’t need to as I know most would be in favour.”

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Ronaldo penalty gives Red Devils win

Cristiano Ronaldo’s controversial penalty gave Ralf Rangnick a second successive Premier League win as Manchester United claimed an unconvincing 1-0 victory at Norwich.

United laboured for long periods at a sodden Carrow Road but were given a chance to break an unexpectedly long deadlock when Max Aarons was adjudged to have pulled down Ronaldo.

The Portugal forward stepped up to convert the spot-kick 15 minutes from time, his emphatic finish proving the difference despite a spirited effort from the league’s bottom club.

United are fifth, level on points with fourth-placed West Ham but with an inferior goal difference, while Norwich remain three points adrift of safety.

Alex Telles saw a free-kick deflected onto the crossbar, but United struggled to break down the division’s leakiest defence in the first half and were frustrated by Tim Krul in the Norwich goal.

Ronaldo was thwarted by a diving save from the Dutchman while Harry Maguire saw a header tipped over in the closing stages of the first 45 minutes.

Norwich provided more of an attacking threat in the second half and only a flying save from David de Gea prevented Teemu Pukki from firing the opener into the top-left corner.

But they were left aghast when Darren England pointed to the spot despite Ronaldo appearing to go down easily under contact from Aarons.

There was no doubt about Ronaldo’s effort from 12 yards, which he lashed into the bottom-left corner – two stunning saves from De Gea to deny Ozan Kabak and the kind of United defending that was often lacking during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure ensuring it was enough for all three points.

United were far from convincing and Norwich could consider themselves unlucky not to get a share of the spoils.

While there is clearly a lot of work still to be done, United have two league wins under Rangnick without conceding a goal, albeit against Crystal Palace and Norwich. Ernest Mangnall in 1903 was the only other United manager to keep a clean sheet in his first two league matches.

That is legitimate progress for a team who were porous towards the end of Solskjaer’s reign.

With his penalty, Ronaldo became only the third United player to score for three different managers in the same season, having done so for Solskjaer, Michael Carrick and now Rangnick this term. James Hanson and Joe Spence both did so in the 1926-27 campaign.

He could have had a second late on but somehow scooped an effort over the bar from point-blank range.

De Gea kept his 200th career clean sheet and the fact United needed him to produce five saves to seal the points was indicative of the struggle this game was for Rangnick’s men.

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The Ralf Rangnick era got off to a winning start as Fred fired Manchester United to a hard-fought victory against Crystal Palace.

Having watched Thursday’s 3-2 triumph against Arsenal from the stands, the 63-year-old interim manager was on the Old Trafford touchline for the first time when Patrick Vieira’s men came to town.

Rangnick’s reign – and first match as a manager in 925 days – began in victorious fashion on Sunday, when Fred proved the unlikely match-winner with a superb curling late effort that saw off Palace 1-0.

United’s third Premier League win in 10 matches also brought with it a first home clean sheet of the campaign on an afternoon when a superb start petered out, providing the German with plenty of food for thought.

The hosts began with impressive intensity and energy under their new boss, with Cristiano Ronaldo having a host of chances before their performance began to drift against hard-working Palace.

Alex Telles saw a free-kick skim the bar and Jordan Ayew went agonisingly close at the other end as United began to slip into familiar ways, only for Fred to produce a moment of magic to seal three points.

Rangnick stood in the technical area for the majority of his first match in charge. The German kept with the side that beat Arsenal but favoured a 4-2-2-2 formation as players pressed with more regularity and effectiveness.

That tweak, and the chance to impress Rangnick, saw the hosts start strongly, with Telles flashing an early shot wide before a Ronaldo cross-shot just evaded Bruno Fernandes.

David De Gea held onto a Wilfried Zaha snapshot on a rare Palace voyage forwards, before Ronaldo fired a free-kick over and then saw Marc Guehi recover well to get in a block on him after being found by Fernandes.

The 36-year-old star powered over a header from just inside the box and stung Vicente Guaita’s palms as United continued on the front foot.

James Tomkins blocked a goalbound Fred drive as sustained pressure continued.

Guaita stretched to tip away a low Fernandes effort, before Palace survived some penalty box pinball and a deflected Jadon Sancho effort looped just over.

But a break in play for treatment after Nathaniel Clyne’s foul on Fred allowed Palace to gather their thoughts and gain more control.

Ayew’s hopeful curling effort skipped just wide as the Eagles frustrated a United side that had settled into old patterns towards the end of the first half.

However, they had a big change in stoppage time as dogged play and good link up with Scott McTominay ended with Diogo Dalot flashing just across the face of goal.

It was an encouraging first half followed by a more cumbersome second period by United.

Cheikhou Kouyate saw a header blocked from a threatening set-piece from Conor Gallagher, who helped close down Marcus Rashford as the forward shaped to shoot.

Mason Greenwood replaced Sancho in a bid to inject new life into a performance that had become flat and somewhat sloppy.

An audacious free-kick nearly provided a 68th-minute opener. Guehi was booked for bringing down Rashford and Telles clipped the top of the crossbar from the resulting set-piece, which he hit well from an acute angle.

Greenwood swiped wide and Rangnick turned to Anthony Elanga to aid a performance that was now a far cry from the start of proceedings, with Palace going agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in the 75th minute.

Tomkins headed a fine corner to the far post, where Ayew could only direct across the face of goal from an acute angle.

It was a let-off punished in style three minutes later as Greenwood laid back to Fred, who curled a superb 20-yard effort beyond Guaita in front of the Stretford End.

The goal was met with a mixture of relief and joy by the Old Trafford faithful, who soon sung former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s name as well as that of ex-caretaker boss Michael Carrick.

Harry Maguire had to be bandaged up after a clash of heads and De Gea had to tip a threatening cross behind as Rangnick started his reign with victory.

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Manchester United have confirmed the appointment of Ralf Rangnick as their new interim manager.

In an official statement on Monday, the club said: “Manchester United is delighted to announce the appointment of Ralf Rangnick as Interim Manager until the end of the season, subject to work visa requirements.

“Following this period, Ralf and the club have agreed that he will continue in a consultancy role for a further two years.”

John Murtough, Manchester United Football Director, said:“Ralf is one of the most respected coaches and innovators in European football. He was our number one candidate for Interim Manager, reflecting the invaluable leadership and technical skills he will bring from almost four decades of experience in management and coaching. Everyone at the club is looking forward to working with him during the season ahead, and then for a further two years in his advisory role.”

Ralf Rangnick said: “I am excited to be joining Manchester United and focused on making this a successful season for the club. The squad is full of talent and has a great balance of youth and experience. All my efforts for the next six months will be on helping these players fulfil their potential, both individually and, most importantly, as a team. Beyond that I look forward to supporting the club’s longer-term goals on a consultancy basis.”

Michael Carrick will remain in charge of the first team until Ralf’s work visa is finalised.

The club said it wishes to place on record its thanks to Lokomotiv Moscow for their co-operation in the process of bringing Ralf to Manchester United.

It seems likely that Carrick will be in charge of the team for Thursday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal at Old Trafford, meaning Rangnick could be in the dugout for the following game.

That match comes at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday and is a 2pm kick-off. The game won’t be shown live on TV in the UK.