Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insists the Reds still have work to do to secure a spot in the Champions League final, and expects Villarreal to try "with all they have" in Tuesday's semi-final second leg.

The Reds are still chasing a historic quadruple after beating the Yellow Submarine 2-0 in last week's first leg at Anfield, with goals from Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mane putting Klopp's team on the brink of a third Champions League final during his seven-year tenure.

Klopp's team produced a dominant performance at Anfield to restrict Villarreal to no attempts on target, and could become the first team since Porto in 2003-04 (against Deportivo La Coruna) to not concede a single shot on target across a two-legged Champions League semi-final.

Liverpool also recorded 22 high turnovers as they suffocated Unai Emery's team, the most by a team in a Champions League knockout game this season and the most Klopp's Reds have ever produced in the competition.

However, Klopp insisted his team would have to withstand a fierce Villarreal response on Tuesday, and said Liverpool would not take anything for granted.

"No [the tie is not over], we know that. It's half-time. In the best possible way, we ignore the result from the first game," Klopp told his pre-match press conference.

"As if it was a cup tie with only one leg and it would be decided in Villarreal, we will try to win there, that's what we want to try, knowing that they will go with all they have, that was clear with all the things Unai said after the game.

"It will be another tough one, but it's fine, the Champions League semi-final should be tough. We never expected it to be easy and this will not be easy. We played a good game at home, and we had better play a good game there as well.

"The Champions League semi-final is the second-most important game you can play [after the final]. That's why whatever happened in the last few weeks is not important.

"You never know if you will reach the semi-final again, if you will ever have another chance to go to the final, you never know. We have an exceptional team here, but nothing is taken for granted, you better treat it carefully and be ready, and we will be ready."

 

Liverpool have won on all five of their Champions League road trips this season. Should Klopp's side win in Spain, they would have played the most away games while maintaining a 100 per cent record by any team in a single European Cup/Champions League campaign.

With the Reds on a 13-match unbeaten streak on their travels in all competitions, Klopp highlighted the importance of having extra options available in his squad compared to previous seasons.

"In general, our last periods of the season are pretty intense, because the Premier League is so difficult," Klopp added.

"It helps that we know, historically we are in the best possible shape [physically], where we don't have to push the boys through like we did in 2018, where we arrived at the final [a 3-1 loss to Real Madrid] pretty much on three wheels, with players coming back from injury and these kinds of things.

"We have to make sure we can make changes here and there and keep them all in rhythm, and to win the football games, that's what it's about."

Tuesday will also see midfielder Thiago Alcantara return to Spain after an outstanding first-leg display in which he attempted over 100 passes, and Klopp said the in-form 31-year-old would start for any team in world football.

"When Thiago is in the shape he is in now, he would play in each team in the world, and he would perform for Spain as well," he added. "He had problems when he arrived here, he got injured, and Spain obviously has a lot of options in midfield because it's an incredibly talented football team.

"But in the shape he's in at the moment he would play for each national team, and not only play in it, he would probably be the outstanding performer. 

"Every person needs to be fit and to gain rhythm and then he can show his best football. If he's in the right place physically, he will show everyone how good he is."

Real Madrid defender David Alaba did not train with the squad on Monday, casting doubt over his participation against Manchester City.

Alaba, who has added a LaLiga title to his 10 Bundesliga crowns after Madrid sealed their domestic triumph on Saturday, trained inside away from the rest of the squad, according to an update on the club's official website.

The versatile defender, signed on a free transfer last season following the expiration of his Bayern Munich contract, has played a key role in Carlo Ancelotti's defence this term and has made 45 appearances across all competitions, all of them starts.

However, Alaba was taken off in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against City last week, which finished 4-3 in the Premier League leaders' favour, with a hamstring issue, and it is unclear if he will return in time to play against Pep Guardiola's team in Wednesday's second leg. He did not play against Espanyol on Saturday.

Madrid are vying for a place in the final, which will take place on May 28 in Paris. Liverpool lead Villarreal 2-0 on aggregate in the other semi-final.

Gareth Bale did also not take part in full training, while Eden Hazard continues his recovery from a fibula fracture.

Villarreal boss Unai Emery says his side are excited to pit themselves against "the best team in the world" in Liverpool, as they try to overcome a two-goal deficit in the Champions League semi-finals.

The Yellow Submarine enter Tuesday's decisive second leg against Jurgen Klopp's men 2-0 down after the first meeting at Anfield last Wednesday.

To reach the final in Paris, Villarreal must become only the second team to overturn a two-goal first-leg deficit in a Champions League semi-final after Liverpool did so in 2018-19, losing 3-0 to Barcelona at Camp Nou before recording an incredible 4-0 home triumph.

But Villarreal struggled against Klopp's in-form Reds last week, attempting just one shot and failing to hit the target, and they could become the first team since 2003-04 (Deportivo La Coruna against FC Porto) to fail to record a shot on target across two legs of a Champions League semi-final tie.

Having previously described Klopp's outfit as the "best-ever" Liverpool team, Emery has now labelled them the finest side in world football, but insisted his players are relishing the prospect of competing with the Reds.

"We are very excited. The favourites were better at their stadium, but we managed to defend well," Emery said. 

"The team is psyched up to play our match and have our chances against the best team in the world. To live this moment, with all our people and against a rival, and passing this test would be excellent. I don't know if we'll be able to."

 

Emery is no stranger to thrilling Champions League comebacks, having been on the receiving end of one of the most famous turnarounds in history when his Paris Saint-Germain lost 6-1 at Barcelona after winning the first leg 4-0 in 2016-17's last-16.

However, the former Arsenal boss said a lot of things have changed since that classic contest, highlighting that neither team would benefit from the scrapped away goals rule on Tuesday.

"A lot of things change from the game against PSG against Barca, even things that are not in our hands. It does not favour [either team] that there is no longer the double value of away goals," he added.

"The first thing that changes is that we play at La Ceramica with our fans. We have to win, but we have to play a brutal defensive game and find our game from there."

In reaching the Champions League semi-finals for the second time in their history (the other in 2005-06), Villarreal have relied on a strong home record: Emery's men are unbeaten in seven home knockout games in the competition's history, although five of those ended level.

After Villarreal's 1-0 home win over Bayern Munich helped them dump the German champions out of the competition in the quarter-finals, defender Pau Torres says that success can serve as an inspiration for the hosts. 

"The game against Bayern can serve as an example. They were favourites and we managed to subdue them in our stadium," Torres said. "We are aware of what is at stake and what needs to be done. We have our game plan. We have seen a very strong Villarreal in important games.

"The objective is only one, no matter how it is achieved. We know that the game is long. A goal puts us in the tie.

"The coach has told us to be ourselves. We are preparing very well for the tie. We are going to be able to see a very recognisable Villarreal, with whom we all feel identified."

Mark Cavendish will return to the Giro d'Italia after a nine-year absence after he was confirmed to be heading up the QuickStep-AlphaVinyl team at 2022's first Grand Tour event.

Cavendish last featured in the race in 2013, topping the points classification after winning five stages.

The legendary sprinter has 15 stage wins in five previous appearances in the race, and will be hoping to replicate his successful comeback at last year's Tour de France, where he matched Eddy Merckx's career record of 34 stage victories, which had stood since 1975, after a three-year absence from the race.

As his team confirmed Cavendish's participation on Twitter, directeur sportif Davide Bramati said he is excited about the 36-year-old's chances of further success.

"We go to the Giro d’Italia with a lot of motivation. We have a good team at the start, with Mark as our man for the flat," Bramati said in a team statement.

"He has won a lot of stages at the Giro, and he can rely on many strong riders to support and guide him in the hectic bunch sprints.

"For the other stages, we'll just take it one day at a time, fight for every opportunity and see what we can do. We know that it won't be an easy three weeks, it never is, but we will try to do our best, because it's in our nature."

 

Cavendish's selection for the three-week race, which begins in Budapest on May 6 and finishes in Verona on May 29, does, however, make another appearance in the Tour de France appear to be unlikely this year, with Dutch sprinter Fabio Jakobsen expected to get the nod.

The 36-year-old has been in good form in 2022, becoming the first British rider to win the Milano-Torino one-day race and picking up three race victories since the turn of the year.

Cristiano Ronaldo's presence has been "one of the most positive things" in Manchester United's disappointing season, according to Diogo Dalot, who is looking forward to working with the "outstanding" Erik ten Hag.

Ronaldo has scored 23 goals and provided three assists in 36 appearances in all competitions since returning to Old Trafford at the start of the season, and has scored eight of the Red Devils past nine Premier League goals.

However, United sit sixth in the Premier League after enduring a frustrating season under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, and have gone five years without winning a trophy.

Despite the team's struggles, Dalot hailed the impact made by his club and Portugal team-mate.

"I'm sure I speak not just for me, but he's been one of the most positive things about this season," Dalot told Sky Sports. "To work with somebody who has his culture of working, his professionalism, his mentality and being close to him now... it's been very helpful for me and my career.

"The numbers are there, the stats are there, so we're obviously very happy to have him here. He's a very friendly person. When he feels he has the trust of other people, he gives 100 per cent of himself to you.

"Everybody gets along with him here, everyone likes to have him around. It's always a big plus to have a player and a person like this in the changing room."

The Red Devils face Brentford in their final home game of the Premier League season on Monday, with Ronaldo looking to add to a staggering 24 goal contributions (18 goals, six assists) in his past 18 games against newly-promoted sides in the competition. 

United are hoping the imminent arrival of Ajax boss Ten Hag will end a turbulent era for the club, and Dalot says the squad are excited by the prospect of adapting to the Dutchman's possession-based style.

"I don't think you need to see a lot to know that he is a great manager. What he's done with Ajax is something outstanding," Dalot added. "He plays very attractive football, I think every fan of United is excited to have a manager like this, and the players are as well.

"In our heads, it's going to be clear who the manager will be next season, and that's good because we go for our break knowing who to expect. Then we will have time in pre-season to work together, get our ideas right and start the new season."

Despite United's struggles, Dalot also says he has enjoyed this season on a personal level after making 27 appearances across all competitions, one more than fellow right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has struggled to adapt to Rangnick's high-pressing style.

Having received five caps for Portugal to date, Dalot also hoped his increased game time would boost his chances of featuring at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

"It's difficult to say it's been a good season when the results are not quite there as we expected, but individually it's been good in terms of playing much more," he added. "Playing regularly has been one of my biggest desires since I came here, and I've fought very hard to get it.

"It's been good, with more minutes than other seasons, so I'm very happy with that. But obviously I want to combine that with team performances, with trophies and that's the aim for the next seasons.

"I like to see it season by season. This season has been special because I've played more regularly here, getting into the first team with the national team and we qualified for the World Cup.

"I want to be there so these are the aims, but we still have three games to play, national team games at the end of the season, so there's no point looking too much ahead when we have some goals to achieve at the end of the season."

Ja Morant refused to give any credit to the Golden State Warriors defense after missing the potential game-winning layup in the Memphis Grizzlies 117-116 Game 1 loss.

Morant finished with 34 points on 14-of-31 shooting, while also adding nine rebounds and 10 assists, but clanked his layup hard off the backboard as time expired under a good contest from Klay Thompson.

Jordan Poole was the star of the show for the Warriors, coming off the bench to score 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting with eight rebounds and nine assists, stepping up to make up for Thompson's six-of-19 performance from the field.

Speaking with post-game media, Morant opted to not give any credit to Thompson's defense when prompted multiple times.

"It was the same message as every time we're in the situation – I just missed a layup," the All-Star said. 

When pressed on if Thompson's defense had any impact, Morant repeated his statement: "Nah, I just missed a layup."

Instead, Morant said where his side lost the contest was in the hustle categories that the Grizzlies usually excel in.

"We gave up too many second-chance points, we gave up [too many] fast-break points," he said. "That's definitely not what we want to be giving up, and it played a factor in this game.

"I feel like that's kind of where we messed up. We were running to the rim on their shots, and there were some long rebounds, 50-50 balls, you know we've got to come up with those against this team. We can't allow them second chances, or open looks, and they made us pay for it.

"We came out and fought – we had a lead, then went down, then got the lead back. Klay hit a big-time three, and I missed a layup. 

"Despite all that, we gave up 26 second-chance points and 18 fast-break points, and we lost by one. 

"It's nothing to hang our heads about – but obviously we've got to correct those things."

Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins did not want to let Jaren Jackson Jr's night go unnoticed either, as he posted a playoff career-high 33 points as the Defensive Player of the Year candidate sank six-of-nine three-pointers.

"[Morant and Jackson] were big for us tonight," Taylor said. "I thought as [the Warriors] changed their line-ups, we started utilising 'JJ' more in ball-screens – Ja was doing a great job finding him, and JJ capitalised. 

"It's going to be a great film to go back and watch to see where we were successful, and see where we weren't. But those two guys were bright spots for sure."

When asked about the plan on the last possession, Jenkins was adamant that he trusts his best player to decide the game.

"[We were looking for] Ja to go make a play," he said. "He had a great look, it just didn't happen to go in."

Memphis Depay is determined to be a key player for Barcelona for "several more years" despite speculation over his future.

The Netherlands forward was signed by Ronald Koeman on a two-year deal as a free agent last June after his Lyon contract expired.

Depay is Barca's leading scorer in his first season at Camp Nou with 12 goals in all competitions, but has only started two LaLiga games since the turn of the year, with Xavi bringing Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the club in January.

The 28-year-old has been hampered by injuries, but found the back of the net with a clinical finish in a 2-1 win over Real Mallorca on Sunday.

With Ansu Fati back from injury and the Blaugrana expected to strengthen ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, Depay's future has been called into question, but he is eager to stay put.

The former Manchester United attacker told ESPN: "I came here wanting to play for the team. I want to be important for the team next year and several more years,"

He added: "It's normal that I have a lot of competition at Barca. I play for the best club in the world."

Head coach Xavi also suggested Depay has a part to play beyond this season.

"Memphis trains very well and that's why he plays. We want this type of player, with this attitude," he said after Sunday's win.

"Surely I've been unfair to him, but if he performs like this he has to play."

Jose Mourinho has been accused of lacking respect by Roma's rivals Lazio after he claimed their winning goal against Spezia should not have stood.

Roma and Lazio are locked in a battle to secure a top-six finish in Serie A, and Maurizio Sarri's team sit level on points with the Giallorossi after earning a last-gasp 4-3 win over Spezia on Saturday, while Mourinho's men dropped points in a goalless draw with Bologna a day later.

Having spent much of their match trailing, Lazio snatched a thrilling win when Francesco Acerbi flicked home in the final minute.

After Ciro Immobile became just the 10th player to reach 150 Serie A goals for one club earlier in the match, Acerbi's winner was controversial as it appeared he turned home from an offside position, leading Mourinho to take aim at the decision to let the goal stand.

Subsequently, Lazio have hit back.

"The fact that in 2022 a coach of another team repeatedly refers to presumed referee favours to competing teams demonstrates some things," the statement began.

"That Lazio is obsessively in their thoughts more than other coveted professional goals; that, as often happens, one looks into other people's homes to divert attention from missed results and sensational episodes that have occurred in one's own home, in one's favour, under the eyes of all.

"Despite the need to evolve the image of football in Italy, some players are stuck with the constant repetition of accusations against the referees and the VAR, [and] these offensive attitudes towards referees are too often overlooked.

"The Lazio Sports Society rejects the criticisms and insinuations. It continues to believe that values are demonstrated on the pitch and not in the television salons. Lazio will never lend itself to being anyone's alibi or scapegoat and will assert its reasons in the appropriate forums." 

In accusing Mourinho of lacking respect for referees and other clubs, Lazio also claimed not to have commented on several refereeing decisions which they perceived to have gone against them in recent weeks.

These incidents included a potential foul on Acerbi in the build-up to Sandro Tonali's late winner for Milan at the Stadio Olimpico, and an alleged elbow by Roger Ibanez when Lazio met Roma in March.

"The company's line continues to be that of not discussing the decisions taken on the pitch, even when it comes to obvious episodes that occurred to the detriment of the Biancoceleste team, such as [Sandro] Tonali's foul on Acerbi in Lazio-Milan on the occasion of the goal, or the elbow from [Roger] Ibanez on [Sergej] Milinkovic-Savic in the [Rome] derby," the statement continued.

"[These are] decisive episodes on which we have chosen silence, out of respect for the referees on the field and the VAR, respect that others have not shown and continue not to demonstrate."

The capital clubs are separated by virtue of their head-to-head record with three games left, with Roma boasting the advantage after winning 3-0 in March.

Ukrainian former tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky has questioned Rafael Nadal after the world number four said Russian and Belarusian players should not be banned from playing at Wimbledon.

The All England Club, along with the Lawn Tennis Association, confirmed last month that Russian and Belarusian players would not be able to feature in their tournaments this year, including Wimbledon.

That decision came in the wake of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which was backed by Belarus.

It means that men's world number two and reigning US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, as it stands, will not be competing at the season's third grand slam.

The ATP and WTA both want a rethink of the decision, while Nadal – along with Novak Djokovic – spoke out against the ban. Andy Murray, meanwhile, said he does not support the move, though understands the major's organisers are in a difficult position. 

 

"I think it's very unfair on my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues," Nadal told reporters.

"It's not their fault what's happening in this moment with the war. I'm sorry for them. Wimbledon just took their decision. The government didn't force them to do it.

"Let's see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in that regard."

However, former world number 31 Stakhovsky, who returned to his homeland to aid the resistance to Russia's attack, vehemently disagrees.

On his official Twitter account, Stakhovsy wrote: "@RafaelNadal we competed together... we've played each other on tour.

"Please tell me how it is fair that Ukrainian players cannot return home?

"How it is fair that Ukrainian kids cannot play tennis? How is it fair that Ukrainians are dying?"

Stakohvsky told Stats Perform in March that he was driven to fight the Russian forces despite having no formal military training, and left his family to do so.

Michael Atherton wants Ben Stokes to take the opportunity to "grab hold" of the dressing room if England are still without a head coach in his first Test as captain against New Zealand.

Stokes was last week confirmed as the successor to Joe Root, who ended his long reign as skipper following a nightmare Ashes series in Australia and subsequent disappointment in the Caribbean. 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are not due to start interviewing for both a Test and limited-overs head coach until next week, with Chris Silverwood sacked after the 4-0 hammering Down Under.

England start a three-match Test series against the Black Caps at Lord's on June 2 and former skipper Atherton believes Stokes can stamp his authority on the side in the absence of a head coach.

He told Sky Sports News: "Ben Stokes will be his own man; he has got a chance to shape that team now and take it in a different direction.

"There may not be a coach in place in time. These things go through a process; I think May 6 is when job applications close and June 2 is the first Test match. That's quite tight.

"That's not a bad thing in my view. I don't think since Sir Andrew Strauss that an England captain has really grabbed hold of a dressing room.

"If there is no coach in there, it will be a chance for Ben to absolutely grab hold of it, mould the team and say 'this is the way we're going to run things.'

"When [Paul] Farbrace was interim coach before [Trevor] Bayliss came in, that was actually when Stokes came back into the side, so it's not a disaster if a coach is not in place by June 2."

Atherton is fully behind the decision to split coaching duties, but did not specify who he wants to take over from Silverwood.

The former opening batter added: "Who should it be? My goodness, all of the candidates that have been talked about are very good. Gary Kirsten is a very good candidate, Simon Katich an excellent candidate. There will be any number of people.

"It's the right thing though to split, or look to split, the job. Years ago I said on Sky that England needed to consider split coaching roles. You look at the schedules now, they are so crammed, it's very difficult for one man to do everything.

"In the middle of the summer, England will be in Amsterdam for some one-day internationals in the middle of a Test series. How does one man plan for that? It's impossible.

"Last year when England were in Dubai playing the T20 World Cup, the Ashes were coming up two weeks later. Impossible.

"Looking to split responsibilities is exactly the right way to go. Two distinct coaching staffs for Test cricket and limited-overs cricket, that will make life much easier."

Jon Rahm said his Sunday round with Tiger Woods at the Masters hammered home the lessons he needed to win the Mexico Open.

World number two Rahm shot all four rounds in the 60s, holding on down the stretch at 17 under to win by one stroke ahead of the fast-finishing duo of Tony Finau and Brandon Wu, who both shot 63 on Sunday.

The win was the Spaniard's first since the 2021 U.S. Open, with second place in January's Sentry Tournament of Champions and a tie for third in the Farmers Insurance Open his best results this season.

Speaking to the media after his triumph, Rahm highlighted lessons he took from playing his final round at Augusta National last month with Woods, who made a remarkable turn to elite-level golf at the major.

"I think that Sunday with Tiger at Augusta gave me quite a bit of confidence," Rahm told a news conference. "I was a little bit technical in my approach – a little too technical. 

"I'm a feel player, and that Sunday I told myself 'just go out there and hit the golf ball'. Make shots, make the swings you want to make, see the ball flight and execute. 

"I shot a three under, not having my best stuff, on a tough day, so I applied the same thing this week."

Rahm also touched on his desire to have a win at Vidanta, after a number of close calls at Chapultepec for the WGC-Mexico Championship, and how the game has grown in the country.

"I was close to winning at Chapultapec a couple times – I had a chance – but I didn't quite get it done," he said. "I knew I could get it done. I came this week wanting to [get a win in Mexico]. 

"I've spoken at length about the importance of Seve [Ballesteros] and his impact on the game of golf and how I play because of him. 

"Nowadays we have a much bigger reach, the PGA Tour has become a bigger tour, and with social media, we're worldwide stars, bigger than they were in the past. 

"I feel like I can make some impact in Mexico as well, and Mexico deserves a good event. You can even see golf growing in Mexico as well.  It's a true honour to be able to come here in this first edition of the event to be the champion."

Despite out-driving his famous Mercedes team-mate early in the season, George Russell has nothing but praise for seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton, 37, got off to a solid start in Bahrain after qualifying fifth and sneaking onto the podium when both Red Bull cars were retired, but his fourth-placed finish in Australia is sandwiched by crossing the line 10th in Saudi Arabia and a disappointing 13th in Imola.

Meanwhile, Russell has finished no worse than fifth in any race, despite having a best starting position of sixth, both in Australia and Saudi Arabia.

It means Russell occupies fourth position in the driver standings, just 10 points away from Max Verstappen in second, while Hamilton is back in seventh.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Russell said he has no doubts about the "inspiring" Hamilton's quality, and his likelihood of returning to form.

"Lewis has clearly got the pace," he said. "He's incredibly fast, and he's showed that so far this year, but it's just been tricky for us as a team to get it done when the time is needed.

"When things have been more stable, Lewis has still been massively fast.

"I know there was a bit of a blip last weekend, but I have no doubt he's going to come back, and the way he's pushing the team and motivating the team is truly inspiring.

"We all want more. He wants more. Nobody is happy with the position we're in currently."

While Russell acknowledged that some of the team's problems have been out of the drivers' hands, he said they are issues he is also having to combat, and that his time at Williams has prepared him to make the most out of difficult situations.

"We are equally struggling," he said. "When the car is so far out of bed and it's not in the right window, it doesn't really feel like a proper racing car to drive.

"Perhaps with my struggles at Williams, with very difficult cars, maybe that's helped in some small regard.

"But Lewis will come back stronger, I have no doubt. He's definitely going to be pushing me all the way.

"I'm not getting comfortable in this position because I know what he's capable of."

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff commended his young star, and stressed his team is determined to provide their drivers with cars they can compete with.

"I'm very impressed with how [Russell has] settled in," he said. "How professionally and analytically he is helps us to assess the situation.

"The combination [of Russell and Hamilton], that's one of the very few highlights I have at the moment on our journey – the two of them work together with no friction. On the contrary, it is very, very productive and positive for the team and I couldn't be happier with the driver line-up.

"We have two of maybe the three best drivers, and they deserve a car and a power unit that makes them fight in the front rather than being lapped. That's not what any of them deserves."

Ralf Rangnick is optimistic it will not take too long for Manchester United to become a force again in a new era under Erik ten Hag.

Ten Haag will leave his role as Ajax head coach to take over from interim United manager Rangnick at the end of the season.

The Dutchman faces a rebuilding job, with United only sixth in the Premier League and set to miss out on Champions League football after falling short of expectations again this season.

It is five years since the 20-time champions of England last won a trophy and Rangnick previously stated that the club need "open-heart surgery" in order to turn their fortunes around

Rangnick, who will take over as Austria coach but is due to remain at Old Trafford in a consultancy role, says he has not yet spoken to Ten Hag since the Ajax coach was appointed as his successor.

Ahead of Monday's Premier League encounter with Brentford, the 63-year-old told Sky Sports: "I'm pretty sure he's [Ten Hag] got my phone number!

"He's got another couple of games to play with Ajax, we have another three games to play here. Whenever he wants to speak with me and exchange our opinions, I'm more than happy to do that."

Rangnick believes the next man to take the United hotseat can be successful in the not-too-distant future if the club learn from their mistakes and recruit wisely.

He added: "Knowing Erik will be the manager, with a good recruitment process and bringing in the right players, I'm very positive the supporters and the media will be able to see a better team and, at the end, hopefully a better position in the league.

"There are quite a few good examples in the league with when Jurgen Klopp came to Liverpool, Pep Guardiola to Manchester City, Thomas Tuchel came to Chelsea – yes, he came in the middle of the season and inherited a top-quality squad, but you still need to win the Champions League.

"If you know what you're looking for, the profiles of the different positions you need, it shouldn't hopefully take too long."

Rangnick has no idea what part Cristiano Ronaldo will play under Ten Hag, though.

He added: "This is a question you need to ask Erik ten Hag.

"He's showed that he can still be a vital part of this team, but it's obvious the team needs some more strikers. There should be two or three new strikers next season, it's pretty obvious."

Andy Murray does not support the ban on Russian and Belarusian players competing at this year's Wimbledon or other Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) tournaments, while Novak Djokovic reiterated his stance.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club recently announced that players from the two nations are prohibited from competing in the British grand slam following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

It means the likes of men's world number two Daniil Medvedev and women's world number four Aryna Sabalenka would miss out on the British swing.

Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have both spoken out against the ban, while the ATP and WTA have also pressed for reconsideration.

Now Murray, a two-time Wimbledon champion who also won Olympic gold at SW19 in 2012, has refused to give the ban his backing.

"I'm not supportive of players getting banned," Murray said in a news conference ahead of the Madrid Open, with the former world number one in action against Dominic Thiem on Monday.

"My understanding of the guidance was that Russians and Belarusians can play if they sign a declaration that they're against the war and against the Russian regime.

"I'm not sure how comfortable I would feel if something happened to one of the players or their families."

 

Murray understands it is a delicate situation, however. 

"I don't think there's a right answer. I have spoken to some of the Russian players. I've spoken to some of the Ukrainian players," he continued.

"I feel really bad for the players who aren't allowed to play and I get that it will seem unfair to them. But I also know some of the people who work at Wimbledon, and I know how difficult a position they were in.

"I feel for everyone, feel for the players that can't play, and I don't support one side or the other."

There has been speculation that the ATP and WTA may sanction Wimbledon, with one possibility being reducing the amount of tour points on offer from the grand slam.

World number one Djokovic, who will be allowed to compete at Wimbledon, where no requirement for a COVID-19 vaccination will be in place for players, is unsure what the next step will be.

He told reporters: "I've spoken to some of the Russian players in Belgrade [at the Serbia Open].

"Obviously, it's not an easy situation to be in. Being stripped of the right to participate in one of the biggest tournaments, if not the biggest tournament in the world, it's hard, I understand that. There is frustration.

"[The] ATP is going to analyse the whole situation and understand what can be done. I have not spoken to people from ATP so I'm not sure about it. I've gone through something similar, it's not the same thing, but something similar earlier this year for myself [when he was denied entry to Australia due to his COVID-19 vaccination status].

"It's frustrating knowing that you're not able to play. I still stand by my position that I don't support the decision. I think it's just not fair. It's not right. But it is what it is, they are entitled to make the decision.

"I guess it's on Player Council, the tour management, to really decide, along with the players, what is the best solution in this situation whether they keep the points, protect the points, take away 50 per cent of the points.

"So I heard that some of those models are still considered to be used in this kind of instance, but I'm not sure what is right, what is wrong, to be honest. I guess we'll have to wait and see the outcome."

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