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Ralf Rangnick’s biggest in-game Manchester United problem is becoming clearer each day



Manchester United’s FA Cup defeat to Middlesbrough was bitterly disappointing for supporters, who saw the competition as an opportunity to winsome silverware this season.

Ralf Rangnick’s team had moments or brilliance on Friday evening, but wasteful finishing ensured United failed to progress to the fifth round of the competition.

It means that United’s only hope of silverware is the Champions League, and not many people need to tell you that’s an unrealistic target.

Currently, Rangnick’s side are miles away from where they need to be. When you look at the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, they have a structure, work ethic and plan in place for success. United don’t have any of that at the moment.

Excluding all the external factors, you have to look at the team performances and despite Rangnick only losing twice in his time in charge at Old Trafford, some of the displays haven’t been good enough.

While there were plenty of positives to take from United’s performance, ultimately, they didn’t win the match against a side which is in a lower division. That is a poor reflection of where the club is at.

The reason why United lost that game was because a handful of players didn’t take any of their chances. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and, to an extent, Jadon Sancho, scuppered many opportunities which allowed Chris Wilder’s team to get back in the game.

Although they had a spot of luck with the goal, the game should have been out of sight by the time they scored.

As each game passes, Rangnick’s biggest issue at United is becoming clear.

When the 63-year-old was brought in, everybody expected him to have a new manager bounce because that’s a trend we’ve seen happen in modern day football.

However, it was naive to think he was going to fix all of United’s problems in a short period of time. Clearly, there are massive issues with the team that need to be addressed and it’s hard to see how he can do that in the next three months.

The biggest issue is to do with player mentality.

There’s no doubt that United do possess players that can cope under pressure. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane have played on the biggest stage and know how to win. However, the problem is that there’s so many players in the team that haven’t had experience of competing for top trophies.

From what we’ve seen in-game under Rangnick, United’s players crumble when they concede. Excluding the 3-1 victory over Burnley and Brentford (when they were 3-0 ahead in both those matches), the players look like they give up. The 2-2 draw against Aston Villa was the best example of that.

A failure to finish matches off also contributes to the decline in performance levels when the opposition score. There’s been too many occasions where United have dominated matches under Rangnick yet failed to finish any of their opportunities.

The 1-1 draw against Newcastle and 1-0 loss to Wolves showed the team can control a match but still not get the result. The Middlesbrough game only adds to this collection.

It’s a massive problem for Rangnick because there’s absolutely no chance United compete for any trophies with this sort of mentality.

When you look back at the times under Sir Alex Ferguson, every game was important. There was no drop-off in standards which is why all of his squads had an elite mentality. The current United team don’t have that.

Certainly, it’ll be interesting to see if this changes, but I can’t see it happening as a massive rebuild in needed. It feels like an impossible job for Rangnick.


Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag




Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club




Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer




Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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