EPL

Rangnick denies problems with Lingard as England international and Cavani return to Man Utd squad

By Sports Desk February 07, 2022

Ralf Rangnick denied having any problems with Jesse Lingard as he confirmed the England international and Edinson Cavani were available again for Manchester United.

Both players missed the FA Cup fourth-round clash with Middlesbrough, which United lost on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Friday.

Cavani was granted extra time off after international duty with Uruguay, while Rangnick said Lingard had been allowed to "clear his head" after he was not allowed to leave the club during the January transfer window.

Lingard disputed the suggestion he had requested to skip the Middlesbrough game, insisting the club had instructed him to take a longer break. Rangnick said after the match that he had wanted Lingard in the squad.

Rangnick has insisted there is no animosity between himself and Lingard and that he would have sanctioned his exit on deadline day were it not for the absence of Mason Greenwood. The 20-year-old is not currently being considered for selection by United following his arrest for alleged rape, assault, sexual assault and threats to kill.

The United interim manager said both the 29-year-old Lingard and Cavani would be back for Tuesday's Premier League match against Burnley.

"With regards to Jesse, I have a very good relationship with him," Rangnick said on Monday. "He knows I would have been willing to let him go at least until the issue with Mason came up. He mentioned some personal issues.

"We have to look forward now, there are no problems whatsoever between myself and Jesse and vice versa. I'm very happy to have him in the squad and he'll be in the squad for tomorrow night's game.

"They're both available and will both be part of the squad for tomorrow's game at Burnley. Both are top professionals, both have been training well."

United will be without Fred and Alex Telles for the game at Turf Moor after the Brazilian pair tested positive for coronavirus.

The match is the Red Devils' first since their shock cup exit to Middlesbrough, in which they were punished for missing a hatful of chances, ending the contest with 30 shots and 4.32 expected goals to their opponents' 1.43.

Rangnick felt the performance was positive but that United paid the price for their profligacy in front of goal and for failing to stop a simple Boro counter-attack before Matt Crooks' equaliser, which was allowed to stand despite the ball striking Duncan Watmore's hand.

Asked if United needed an overhaul, he said: "I don't know. I don't think so. Overall, the development of the team and performances over the last couple of weeks have improved.

"There are two points of criticism that we all have to face. One: we wasted too many clear-cut chances, 22 shots inside the box, 10 were massive opportunities and we should easily have been 3-0 up at half-time. It should have been 6-1 or 6-2.

"And the other one was, 10 seconds before we conceded the goal, it was a perfect counter-pressing situation inside their half, we took away time but not the ball away from them and eight seconds later we were outnumbered in our box, it was a handball goal and I'm still convinced this goal should have been disallowed, but we shouldn't have allowed this situation.

"Those are the two things I fault with the team. We invested a week into the game plan and many of those things have been confirmed by the team and were shown on the pitch against Middlesbrough."

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    Petar Musa scored a hat-trick in FC Dallas’ thrilling win over Minnesota United in midweek, and he is thrilled with the attacking set-up under interim coach Peter Luccin.

    Dallas beat Minnesota 5-3 at home on Wednesday, making it three games unbeaten.

    The club dismissed Nico Estevez on June 9, and Musa suggested Luccin has let the team off the leash from an attacking standpoint.

    “I think we play more vertically towards the goal,” said Musa.

    “We are more offensive now, we have a lot of players who run behind and we started playing more attacking football.

    "We scored five goals at home so you can see from the build-up that we play attacking soccer. I am very happy about the new style we are implementing.”

    Luccin added: “I’m thankful and grateful for the effort from the players. It’s very important for me that the effort has been fantastic. I’m very pleased with some of the sequences that we had, playing good football and very vertical.

    “Overall, the goals that we conceded, sometimes we need to be a little bit smarter. All the players have been fantastic. Five goals at home, I think the fans were very happy.

    “I’m sure they would’ve liked fewer goals conceded but it’s part of the game. We are making progress. It’ll be step-by-step but you can see the attitude from the players is excellent. They want to play, they understand. Now we need to adjust to find that balance. I really think we deserved to win.”

    Next up for Dallas is a trip to the northwest, to face the Seattle Sounders.

    Dallas are one place and two points below Seattle in the Western Conference.

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    Seattle Sounders – Jackson Ragen

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    Musa’s hat-trick took him onto eight MLS goals for the season, four more than any other team-mate.

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  • Rangnick expects 'exceptional' Lewandowski to start for Poland Rangnick expects 'exceptional' Lewandowski to start for Poland

    Ralf Rangnick insisted Austria will not change their tactics for Robert Lewandowski having missed Poland's opening Euro 2024 fixture against the Netherlands. 

    The Barcelona striker, who is his nation's all-time top scorer with 82 goals, did not feature in their 2-1 defeat in Hamburg having picked up a thigh injury in a pre-tournament friendly against Turkiye. 

    Despite his absence, both Rangnick and captain Marcel Sabitzer are preparing for the game with the assumption he will be on the pitch for Michal Probierz's side on Friday.

    "It doesn't change our way of playing a lot, basically they will play the way they have been played. Lewandowski is the (main) player in Poland, everyone tries to pass to him, especially if they counter at speed," Rangnick told reporters.

    "In Munich, I had the joy of playing together with him for one year, therefore I know his qualities," Sabitzer added on facing his former team-mate.

    "I know he's an exceptional player but for us as a team, when it comes to tactics, nothing will change."

    Austria, meanwhile, started their Group D campaign with a narrow defeat to tournament favourites France, and know a victory is a must to keep their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages alive. 

    "The team that wins tomorrow holds the good cards and has a good chance of going through to the next phase, so therefore it's a game you have to win, that's absolutely clear to us," Rangnick said.

    Sabitzer said his side was ready for the pressure that comes with a must-win game, saying: "We already said to each other that we want to win the match tomorrow, and Poland the same to each other internally.

    "I think if we change those things (from the France game) if we follow our principles and are intense, and if we bring all that on the pitch, then we have a good chance of winning tomorrow."

  • Ragnick expects 'exceptional' Lewandowski to start for Poland Ragnick expects 'exceptional' Lewandowski to start for Poland

    Ralf Ragnick insisted Austria will not change their tactics for Robert Lewandowski having missed Poland's opening Euro 2024 fixture against the Netherlands. 

    The Barcelona striker, who is his nation's all-time top scorer with 82 goals, did not feature in their 2-1 defeat in Hamburg having picked up a thigh injury in a pre-tournament friendly against Turkiye. 

    Despite his absence, both Ragnick and captain Marcel Sabitzer are preparing for the game with the assumption he will be on the pitch for Michal Probierz's side on Friday.

    "It doesn't change our way of playing a lot, basically they will play the way they have been played. Lewandowski is the (main) player in Poland, everyone tries to pass to him, especially if they counter at speed," Rangnick told reporters.

    "In Munich, I had the joy of playing together with him for one year, therefore I know his qualities," Sabitzer added on facing his former team-mate.

    "I know he's an exceptional player but for us as a team, when it comes to tactics, nothing will change."

    Austria, meanwhile, started their Group D campaign with a narrow defeat to tournament favourites France, and know a victory is a must to keep their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages alive. 

    "The team that wins tomorrow holds the good cards and has a good chance of going through to the next phase, so therefore it's a game you have to win, that's absolutely clear to us," Rangnick said.

    Sabitzer said his side was ready for the pressure that comes with a must-win game, saying: "We already said to each other that we want to win the match tomorrow, and Poland the same to each other internally.

    "I think if we change those things (from the France game) if we follow our principles and are intense, and if we bring all that on the pitch, then we have a good chance of winning tomorrow."

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