Ralf Rangnick revealed his plan for wantaway Man Utd pair Dean Henderson and Donny Van de Beek this month; and outlined what he’s doing to turn the club’s on-field fortunes around.
The interim Manchester United manager has thus far struggled to bring the best out of the players at his disposal. While Rangnick has suffered just one defeat while in charge, performances on the pitch have left a lot to be desired.
United travel to Villa Park to face Aston Villa in the 5:30 kick-off tomorrow evening. It will be the second time the clubs have met inside a week after United narrowly edged out Steven Gerrard’s side in the FA Cup Third Round on Monday.
Speaking in his press conference on Friday, Rangnick addressed a number of topics including the futures of Van de Beek and Henderson.
But first, the subject of team news arose, and Rangnick provided United fans with a quadruple boost.
On the availability of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Harry Maguire and Phil Jones, Rangnick said (via the MEN): “I think they will be available.
“They only trained yesterday for the first time. Cristiano yesterday, Harry the day before yesterday. We have to wait for the final session this afternoon but as it seems right now they should be available for tomorrow [Saturday].”
What has surprised Rangnick in England?
On what has surprised Rangnick about the Premier League thus far, Rangnick pointed to the quality and fight of those in the lower reaches of the table.
“I wouldn’t say it has surprised me. No winter break is what I expected,” Rangnick initially stated.
“What surprised me a little is how physically and tactically astute the smaller teams in this league are. Against the bottom teams, it is never easy.”
When probed on precisely how he is striving to turn United’s fortunes around, Rangnick said: “I was fully aware this could not happen overnight. It is a work in progress. We have shown we have conceded fewer goals but still, it is about controlling the game.
“Obviously, we have taken a few steps, but things can still get better, to find the best formation.
“If you want to control or dominate games, you can do it in two ways. One: how you play when the other team is in possession and not being weak on the counter-attack.
“The other is to gain control when you are in possession of the ball. We’ve taken a few steps but not as quickly as I would have wanted. As coaches you are never patient. You always want to develop faster. It is all about the results of each game, and that is true tomorrow.”
Henderson, Van de Beek decisions made
Attention then turned to the transfer window, with the headlines this month thus far dominated by potential exits.
Goalkeeper Henderson and midfielder Van de Beek are two players who have been widely reported to be seeking moves away.
However, Rangnick stressed that at present, he has no plans to allow either to leave this month. With three trophies still to fight for, Rangnick wants all the squad depth he can muster.
On Henderson first, Rangnick said: “I told him that I would like him to stay. He is a fantastic goalkeeper, I would really like to have him on board.
“I can fully understand why he wants to play at his age, but we are still in three competitions. I can understand his desire to get regular game time.”
Regarding Van de Beek – who has been omitted from the last three Netherlands squads – the German concluded: “It is the same situation as with Dean. I am glad to have him in the squad. He is always performing at a high level in training.
“I had a conversation two weeks ago and advised him to stay until the end of the season. He wants to play in the World Cup and [Netherlands manager] Louis Van Gaal told him he needs to regularly play.
“I understand it, but we have a lot of competition in our squad.”