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Rangnick explains how he will solve Manchester United problem



with a mismatched group of players, capable of squandering a colossal budget and letting points slip through their grasp. An interim manager halfway through a temporary reign that has taken on an underwhelming feel denying he will remove the captaincy from Harry Maguire and reject reports of dressing room divides.

But Ralf Rangnick delivered a staunch defence of his tenure, arguing performances are on an upward graph and that if United continue at their current rate of progress they are likely to qualify for the Champions League, and pointing to the difficulties with his inheritance. Rangnick argued he is more solution than problem; that, incrementally, his methods are working.

They have drawn three of their past four matches, but he has taken encouragement.

We have won six [league] games, drawn four and had one defeat against Wolves; that was one of the worst games we played,” he said.

“Since then it’s obvious that the team has developed, that we control, not for 90 minutes, but for larger parts of the game. We are dominating and controlling games.”

If Brighton were dominant and in control for the opening 45 minutes on Tuesday, United nevertheless won 2-0 and although a 90-minute performance remains their holy grail, Rangnick detects a rise in belief.

“To me, it’s obvious speaking regularly to the players that they feel confident and strong on the pitch as a team. We have shown some improvement in the weeks and months, but there is still space for more in the future.

”If he made his name with a high-pressing blueprint, he believes he has built from the back.

United conceded 21 goals in 12 league games under Ole Gunnar Solskjær – when only Norwich and Newcastle had worse records – and eight in Rangnick’s 11. “

We had to reduce the number of goals conceded, which we did,” he said.

That is in part because David de Gea has made the most saves in the division.

“I would love to be with a team that has allowed the fewest amount of shots on our goal but that is not the case,” Rangnick said.

If De Gea’s season has amounted to a damage-limitation exercise, perhaps Rangnick’s salvage job has certain similarities.

In each case, it may be rendered tougher by the personnel around them. “

The challenge for me was in coming mid-season at a time when the team was lacking confidence and not doing well,” he said. “

And to work with a group that was not put together by me; that’s not alibis or excuses, just a mere fact.”

United’s false start to the season has left them playing catch-up.

Rangnick was a voice of caution. “Everybody wants to play in the Champions League every season, but we have to be realistic,” he said. “

I think when I came we were eighth in the table, trailing by quite a few points.”

They were 10th before the caretaker Michael Carrick’s parting gift, victory over Arsenal, lifted them to seventh.

Rangnick has taken them higher again, procuring 22 points from 11 matches.

“If you win two points [per game] on average in the whole season you are probably finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League,” he said. “

Right now, we have played 11 games, we have another 13 left and if you ask me now if I would be happy with another two points on average in those 13 games, I would probably say yes.”


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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