Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd players ‘openly’ made Conte admission and expect big name to replace Rangnick – report

Jonny Whitfield
Antonio Conte celebrates during Tottenham's win over Leeds, November 2021

Manchester United’s players freely admitted that they expected Antonio Conte – not Ralf Rangnick – to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager, according to a report.

United’s season started strongly and looked like it would get better following Cristiano Ronaldo’s two-goal debut on his return. However, the Red Devils have endured a tough spell since then.

Ronaldo effectively single-handedly guided them to the Champions League last 16. Still, he has not been able to have the same effect in the Premier League.

As such, Solskjaer got the sack in November, not long after United reiterated their faith in him. They tried – and failed – to get Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino in straight away.

As a result, they went down the interim route and appointed German tactician Rangnick until the end of the season. Had they chose to when Solskjaer was under mounting pressure, though, they could have landed Conte.

The Italian left Inter in the summer before Tottenham snapped him up at the start of November. But that was only three weeks before United pulled the plug on their former player.

According to The Sun, United’s players had ‘openly’ called for Conte to come in and replace Solskjaer.

But since Rangnick’s arrival in the dugout, the problems for the club have continued. While they have won three of six matches, they have not been convincing displays.

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The Sun’s report also carries quotes from a reported United source, who has revealed the “complete shambles” in the dressing room.

The source supposedly said: “The players have their own cliques, one of which is making the others feel like they need to step up a level when it is the whole team that’s struggling. The players are demoralised.

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“This is deja vu of the previous years when things went wrong. The fans probably think the players are not fit enough to put Rangnick’s plans into action.

“That is so untrue. Certain players have just lost that knack and desire. Plus, there is a belief within one section of the squad that some players get selected, regardless of their displays. So everything is a complete shambles.”

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Mauricio Pochettino PSG

The newspaper adds that United’s players expect Pochettino to come in at the end of the season.

The former Tottenham boss is only at his one-year anniversary of moving to the French capital. However, he has already had links with making the move back to the Premier League with United.

Speaking in December, though, Pochettino expressed his commitment to the Parc des Princes club.

“You could compare the first six months and the last six months,” he said of his one year in charge.

“I think it has been positive, because in the first few months you have to settle in, although I already knew the club, it was still new and the start of a project.

“Joining a club that I wanted to be at, where I played, with incredible supporters, I think that is my best memory. We have also achieved some of the success we wanted but I feel the best is to come next year.”

READ MORE: Paper Talk: Four named, with 11 Man Utd stars wanting out as crisis engulfs Rangnick