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Thomas Tuchel has shown Ralf Rangnick how Man United can solve Cristiano Ronaldo proble



Manchester United endured a night to forget against Wolves on Monday and besides Phil Jones and maybe David de Gea, no one player could be content with their individual performance.

This includes Cristiano Ronaldo, who donned the captain’s armband on the night but it looked to weigh on him in a strangely subdued showing. Ineffective going forward and dropping far too deep to find touches, Ronaldo played on the periphery as Wolves dominated and failed to help United in the build-up as a result.

Despite this being one of Ronaldo’s worst games in a United shirt since he returned to Old Trafford, it seemed that Ralf Rangnick at no point had any intention of subbing the Portuguese forward.

His post-match comments about the substitution of Mason Greenwood proved particularly revealing, as he said: “The question was shall I take off Mason or shall I take off Edi [Cavani], that was the question.

“We decided to keep Edi as the more offensive, the more striker of the two on the pitch. I take off Mason, that was my call.

“We could also have done it in a different way but it shows how highly how the fans like Mason as a homegrown player and, as I said, his effort and performance was not outstanding but at least he was one of the better players today.”

The decision to take off Greenwood was met by boos from the United fans inside a disillusioned Old Trafford because up until that point he had arguably been the team’s best player going forward and someone who was efficient in his use of the ball.

But Rangnick refused to mention the possibility of Ronaldo also being an option to come off for Bruno Fernandes despite his poor performance.

Ronaldo has scored a number of last-minute goals this season and has an unparalleled reputation when it comes to scoring clutch goals. The reward often outweighs the risk.

But over the last few matches, his performance levels have dipped and when he is not scoring the goals he’s renowned for, it quickly becomes a question of whether this is actually detrimental to United’s performance as a team.

Reports of a dressing-room revolt will not help the interim boss but if he is intent on improving United’s collective, then difficult decisions will need to be made on individuals and who best suit the needs of the team against different opposition.

Whether it is for fitness or for form, it is telling that since the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer only Michael Carrick has dropped Ronaldo, which could be sending the wrong message to the rest of the squad.

There should be no room for sentiment, even account for his standing and reputation if Rangnick is serious about removing some of the issues that continue to exist in this squad. Against a number of opponents, Ronaldo will be a selection that benefits United, but an uneasy admission that isn’t against every team is necessary here.

He should be treated as just another member of United’s squad and his performances should influence whether he is allowed to start.

Rangnick could do worse than to consider how Thomas Tuchel has managed the Romelu Lukaku circus at Chelsea in recent days. The controversial comments the Belgian made during an interview with Sky Sports in Italy led to him being left out of the squad against Liverpool last weekend and has ultimately resulted in a grovelling apology to supporters.

The Ronaldo case does not draw exact parallels but is a classic case of how no one player can be considered bigger than the sum of the parts of a team and United risk this problem becoming a wider one with a continued undroppable status.

Lukaku also returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer with big expectations due to his price tag but Tuchel has never let that get in the way of his ambitions for the team, who are not exactly littered with superstars and whose Champions League win last season under the German was built on a strong team ethic.

Rangnick’s era may be defined on whether or not he can offer a similar hardline stance to any underperformers at United, regardless of their status.


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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