Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Mike Phelan called in from cold as Rangnick tasks him with ending Man Utd ‘civil war’

James Marshment
Mike Phelan, Man Utd coach given new role under Ralf Rangnick

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has issued Mike Phelan with the role of unifying the dressing room at Old Trafford.

A damning report on Wednesday claimed the club have as many as 11 players wanting to leave. With four of them named, our Paper Talk outlined the widespread feeling of discontent. Indeed, despite the new era brought about by Rangnick’s appointment, there reportedly remains serious disharmony at Carrington.

The Red Devils suffered their first defeat under their interim manager on Monday night. Indeed, United fell in timid fashion to Wolves when thoroughly outclassed at Old Trafford.

While one result wouldn’t normally constitute a crisis, the remarkable report has lifted the lid on the brewing discontent in Manchester.

They report Rangnick is ‘battling’ to unite a fractured dressing room that already has doubts about the German.

Cliques are stated to have formed among the players. Furthermore, there is the damning revelation that ‘many’ of the squad already feel ‘underwhelmed’ by both Rangnick’s coaching methods and tactics.

Rangnick demands a high-intensity style that heaps pressure on their opponents deep within their own half. Against Wolves, United lacked intensity and looked passive as Bruno Lage’s men comfortably outplayed their opponents.

And with morale seemingly at an all-time low, Rangnick knows there is only one man for the job – Phelan.

Now, as per the Daily Mirror, Phelan has been tasked by Rangnick to reunite the dressing room. He wants the long-serving coach to speak with the squad – both collectively and individually – in an effort to end their civil war.

Rangnick prioritising offloading players in January

The emphasis will be on trimming the squad down in January rather than building it up.

Phelan has worked at United for a number of years, serving as a coach under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Sir Alex Ferguson. He is a hugely-popular figure around Carrington and has the respect of United’s big-money stars.

Now Rangnick hopes that relationship with their problematic individuals can help reunite the dressing room.

The German believes that a happy squad will lead to a successful squad, hence Phelan’s important new role.

The interim boss has also reportedly recruited sports psychologist Sascha Lense in an attempt to improve the atmosphere at the club.

Mike Phelan can help Rangnick fix problems

Despite the issues, Rangnick knew exactly what he was inheriting when he took the job.

Indeed, he is looking for not just harmony, but also a clear brand of football that will appease the fans.

“I knew it would be difficult,” said Rangnick.

“That’s the reason they brought me. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to find a balance between offensive and defence.

“Today we showed similar problems the team had three or four weeks ago before I arrived. It is not an easy job to develop a DNA with and without the ball. The game today showed there are still quite a few steps to go.”

United have won three of their six games since Rangnick took charge and next face Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round.

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