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Marcus Rashford breaks silence on Man United accusations and Ralf Rangnick claim

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Marcus Rashford has fired back at accusations that he has a “bad attitude” as he suffers a sustained dip in form for Manchester United.

The England star’s goal-scoring drought rose to 11 games on Monday night as the Red Devils secured a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round.

United have not found top gear under Ralf Rangnick and are dealing with some teething issues as the interim boss tries to implement his high pressing style of football.

One player who is noticeably not playing to his potential is Rashford who is clearly lacking confidence at the moment.

This was highlighted against Villa which led to him being vilified on social media by fans.

Former United assistant Steve McLaren came out in the wake of the game questioning his attitude and body language.

He said: “I hate that attitude in a player. Body language is so, so important and that was the criticism of United players in the last few weeks.

“But Rashford has probably had this problem throughout his career, in terms of questioning his attitude.

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“He gets deterred too easily and doesn’t fight through bad moments. He doesn’t stay in the game.

“If he’s not having a good first-half, he’ll never have a good second-half.

“Somebody needs to give him the tools to come out of the bad times because he doesn’t know how to and stays in it.”

McClaren, speaking to talkSPORT suggested Rashford needs help to get his head right by seeking professional help, if he is to emerge from his current slump.

“The help is there in modern football,” said McClaren.

“He [interim United boss Ralf Rangnick] brought in a sports psychologist. He’s got the talent and the ability.

“There’s that one cornerstone which we call mentality, attitude, which he hasn’t grasped yet.

“There are certain tools with which you can come out of bad times, so you play one bad pass and don’t make it two or three.

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“You get back to playing simple again. But a player needs to admit first that he’s in the wrong, has a bad attitude and needs help.”

But Rashford has fired back at those claims insisting, if anything, he cares about the club too much, according to The Telegraph.

On occasions, he reckons he has taken on too much responsibility and sacrificed himself for United and there is no way his commitment should be questioned.

The report claims he is acutely aware of his poor form, but it’s ill-informed and insulting to attribute it to his attitude.

There have also been claims that Rashford has not responded positively to Rangnick’s arrival as he struggles to adapt to his philosophy.

But the 24-year-old is adamant that is not the case.

The Athletic claims Rashford was excited by the German’s appointment and receptive to his style, even if it has taken time to take implement his instructions on the field.

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He reckons his current slump is due to the changing formations and limited opportunities to play as Rangnick still tries to find out his best XI.

Rangnick admitted that Rashford’s work ethic is not the issue and believes it’s likely to be a lack of confidence.

He said: He’s trying hard. In training he was doing well in the last couple of days, that’s why he was quite rightly in the starting XI. In the first half, we found him quite often, but we also tried to get him into the box. In the second half that was not that often the case.”

Asked if confidence was a factor, he added: “Especially for strikers. It’s important that they score goals on and off, that there are moments of success.

“Of course, it would be good, for example, for Marcus if he could score a goal but as long as he’s trying, as long as he’s training well I don’t see that much of a problem.”

Chelsea

Tuchel hands 22-year-old his first Chelsea start – predicted starting XI against Leeds this weekend

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Chelsea will look to get back to winning ways in Sunday’s game against Leeds United at Elland Road.

The Blues dominated proceedings in the London derby against Spurs last week, however only came out of things with a point following Harry Kane’s late equaliser.

Thomas Tuchel operated a fluid and unique system at Stamford Bridge, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount especially thriving in the new look system.

However, the Blues could turn back to the recognised back three this weekend, with our predicted lineup for the game against Leeds.

GK and Defence

Edouard Mendy made a brilliant save just before Spurs’ late equaliser at the end, and his position in the squad is more than secure for this one.

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With there still being no breakthrough on the Wesley Fofana front, Cesar Azpilicueta will return to the starting lineup as captain at Elland Road.

Fixtures are yet to pick up in the early stages of the season, so Thiago Silva should still be fresh and okay to participate again.

The centre-backs will be completed by Kalidou Koulibaly, who showed his quality again in an emphatic display against Spurs.

Midfield

Reece James scored almost instantly after being moved back to wing-back on Sunday, and the Blues will look to get the attacking best out of him on Sunday.

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Jorginho may have been at fault for the first conceded goal last week, although his great performance will still see him start again against Leeds.

Injuries have ruled N’golo Kante and likely Mateo Kovacic out of the game, there is a big choice to be made to partner the Italy internatonal. While Ruben Loftus-Cheek starred against Spurs, Conor Gallagher will be chosen to partner in midfield, being handed his first start for the club.

Marc Cucurella will look to build on his impressive performance last week with another start against Leeds, with Ben Chilwell still not quite at match fitness.

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Attack

The Chelsea attack will have a familiar look to the last two weeks, with Mason Mount occupying the free-roaming role in the attack against an opponent he has had a lot of success against before.

Raheem Sterling will try again in his quest to open his Chelsea league account, with him missing a glorious chance last week.

Kai Havertz is another man who missed a great opportunity to win the game for the Blues at the weekend, although his work in the front three was enough to see him start again.

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Atletico Madrid do not want to pay €40 million for Barcelona attacker

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Atletico Madrid are in a precarious situation in regards to their ownership of Antoine Griezmann.

The Spanish giants had signed the Barcelona forward on a two-year loan deal last summer. The contract included a mandatory purchase option worth €40 million if the player features in 50% of the matches with a minimum of 45 minutes between the games across two seasons.

Last season, Griezmann featured in 82.5% of the matches, meaning Atletico Madrid may have to virtually leave him out on the bench throughout the 2022/23 campaign if they are to avoid paying the fee for the Frenchman in 2023.

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However, with Luis Suarez leaving the club, Atletico Madrid consider Griezmann a viable part of the club’s attacking unit and Los Colchoneros must get the best out of him, if they are to regain their lost status in the title race in this new season.

At the same time, the club are not too keen on meeting the mandatory €40 million purchase clause set on Griezmann’s contract. This has been reported by Mundo Deportivo which suggests the club are looking to reduce the overall valuation of the clause.

While Barcelona are yet to respond to Atletico’s overtures, there is a clear indication that the capital club have no intention to pay anywhere near the €40 million for the services of Griezmann, who was barely even a starter for Diego Simeone’s men last season

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The Frenchman was even left out on the bench in Atletico’s opening game against Getafe. However, coming on as a substitute in the final half an hour, the attacker was able to break his scoring duck by netting the third goal in a 3-0 victory.

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It will be interesting to see whether the little cameo compels Simeone to start him in future matches, although his performances should not deter Atletico Madrid from their attempts to lower the price tag of the star striker.

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Chelsea

Barcelona star’s move to Chelsea is now ‘heating up’ – report

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be close to securing a move to Chelsea from FC Barcelona, with the move now heating up, reports Victor Navarro on COPE.

Aubameyang joined Barça only eight months ago, arriving as a free agent from Arsenal in January. He helped the Catalans finish second in La Liga last season and finished the campaign as the club’s joint top scorer in all competitions along with Memphis Depay

And, Barcelona could now lose both their top scorers this summer. Depay is closing in on a move to Juventus, having reportedly agreed a two-year contract with the Italian giants.

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And now Aubameyang could be on his way to Chelsea imminently, with the move ‘heating up’ recently. The Blues have made the 33-year-old Gabonese striker their top target after losing both Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel enjoyed a successful relationship with Aubameyang during their time at Borussia Dortmund and is now pushing for a reunion.

Reports earlier on Thursday indicated that Chelsea were planning to submit a formal offer for the former Arsenal captain imminently.

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Now, Victor Navarro is claiming that the two clubs are negotiating over the transfer of the 33-year-old, with all parties intent on getting the move over the line.

Barcelona need to get rid of players so that they can register Jules Kounde and make more additions, with a new right-back and left-back on the club’s agenda.

The departure of Depay alone will not be enough to register Kounde. And with Frenkie de Jong unwilling to leave and no offers arriving for Sergino Dest yet, Aubameyang’s exit seems the best option for Barça.

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The ex-Arsenal superstar has fallen down the pecking order at Camp Nou this season following the arrival of Robert Lewandowski. A move to Stamford Bridge could see him become the first-choice striker and enjoy regular game-time.

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