Ralf Rangnick sends message to Manchester United players with contracts expiring
Man Utd face another summer of upheaval with a new manager set to be appointed and some players could be playing for their futures
Ralf Rangnick insists the Manchester United dressing room remains harmonious, despite the fact some of his players are battling for a future at the club beyond the end of the season.
There have been reports of rifts within the dressing room throughout what has been a turbulent campaign at Old Trafford but Rangnick believes it is a tight-knit squad. The players are on to their second manager of the season in Rangnick, having seen Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked in November, and there will be more upheaval this summer when a permanent manager is appointed.
That could lead to more churn in the transfer market and some players will need to make a statement to the next manager in the final 11 Premier League games of the season.
"Of course, it should be the case in professional football all the time. Players should know they have to perform to play, or for a new contract — or to be kept in the club. That should be the case all the time in professional football," said Rangnick.
"But now for us, it’s about getting the best out of this current squad. I can assure you the atmosphere in the locker room, the focus in training, we have no issues.
"All that about outside noises, about players not being focused in training, is not correct. They get on well with each other, they have a full focus in every session. It’s about — with our kind of football, with the areas we have improved — getting the best possible result in the coming games."
Rangnick leads United into his first Manchester derby today having lost just one of his 17 games in charge, although performances have been inconsistent and there have been too many draws against sides United were expected to beat.
"When you have a change of manager during the season, no matter which club, obviously some things have gone wrong, some things haven’t developed in the way they’ve been expected to," he added.
"But this is the case all over the world if that happens, for me now, coming here in the middle of the season, it was about stabilising the club and the team, not conceding as many goals we did, this is something we’ve achieved, we’ve also created enough chances to win more games than we have, we could easily have four, if not six points more.
"The development that has taken place for me is obvious but of course, it could go quicker, now it’s about sustainably making sure that development takes place for the rest of this season and then take the right decisions for the future."
United have won their last three trips to the Etihad and, while they were comfortably beaten at Old Trafford earlier this season, Rangnick expects this game to be closer having seen progress during his time in charge.
"Last season Manchester United won 2-0 at the Etihad, was in it October or November, the first game they played at Old Trafford, Man City won 2-0, in style, could have been a higher margin in the end but now for us, it is confirming the development of the team in the last three months," he said.
"We have been unbeaten in the last 11 games, we haven’t lost a single away game since I arrived. We know this will be the biggest challenge so far. We haven’t played against a team of that kind of quality so far and for us it is about confirming this development on Sunday against one of the best teams in the world."