Jurgen Klopp has echoed recent calls from Ralf Rangnick and Thomas Tuchel for the Premier League to allow five substitutions to be made in games but does not think it will happen any time soon.

The Premier League introduced the five substitutes rule when football resumed in June 2020 following the enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemci, but the competition reverted back to the usual three permitted alterations ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

Other major European leagues including Serie A, LaLiga, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga still allow five substitutions, as does the Champions League and the EFL Cup.

Premier League clubs voted on the matter last December, with the majority deciding to keep the rule the same, but allowing for nine instead of seven players to be named on the bench.

Tuchel voiced his frustration after his team's win 3-1 at Aston Villa on Sunday after he was forced to make all three substitutions by the 63rd minute due to injuries to Thiago Silva and N'Golo Kante, having already taken Trevor Chalobah off at half-time, saying: "We are the only league that play in winter, which I love, but we're not protecting the players.

"All other leagues have five changes. Then we compete against them in the Champions League. It's a bit frustrating. It will not stop."

Speaking at his pre-match news conference ahead of Liverpool's trip to Leicester City, Reds boss Klopp was also asked for his thoughts on the issue and agreed with his fellow former Borussia Dortmund coach.

"The problem is this intensity for top class football in England is definitely at the edge," he told reporters.

"In the league we have 38 games. Two cup competitions, even if we do not go to the final, let's [estimate] another five, it's 43. Pretty much all of them play for their national teams, nine, 10 games a year? Plus, Champions League games, so you come pretty quick to more than 50 games, or higher.

"My first season here we played the [Europa League] final, I think it was the 64th game.

"The decision about [five subs] is made, and we realised again in the manager's meeting, the decision is made by 14 clubs. I think you need 14 votes to change it, and there's something wrong.

"For example, Burnley, I'm not sure how many of their players play international football, when our players have three games, they have no game. They play 38 Premier League games, cup games another two, three, four? That makes it 42.

"We talk about an issue that some [clubs and players] definitely have, but it's decided by other teams and because we make a competition of it, it is like 'no, they are better than us', and that's a real problem because [five subs] is the right decision because you bring players back after a COVID infection or after an injury and because of the games you have to play, they have to play immediately and then they go out again.

"You cannot take them off after 60 minutes because you have to change others, so that's a real problem.

"This wonderful game is so wonderful because usually the players on the pitch are in good shape, are well trained, have well recovered and go for it, and that's why we love the game.

"The best league in the world and the most intense league in the world is the only league in Europe, and maybe in the world I don't know, with still three subs, and that's not right."

Klopp believes the issue should be revisited, but was not optimistic that things would change any time soon, adding: "We still have to talk about it, we should change it but it's for the Premier League.

"[Chief Executive] Richard Masters said he would like to make this decision by himself but he can't because you need a vote, and this vote is other clubs with other problems, different problems, say 'no, we don't want to have five subs', and so I don't see a real chance to change it to be honest."

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick shared his thoughts on the matter last Thursday, telling reporters: "The five subs were implemented when COVID started, and I think it was the right decision to do that to save energy for players, especially if they have just recovered from COVID.

"The same is true right now – we are in a similar situation to the one we had one-and-a-half years ago, therefore I don't see why it shouldn't be as it was one-and-a-half years ago. As far as I know, in Europe, England is the only country where they only allow three subs."

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has dismissed the idea of scrapping football over the festive period in England, comparing the idea to "abolishing the Queen".

COVID-19 outbreaks among several Premier League clubs has forced the postponement of a number of fixtures, but Rangnick does not believe that introducing a winter break over Christmas is in keeping with the country's traditions. 

The German did, however, question some of English football's practices, including the existence of two domestic cup competitions - the FA Cup and the EFL Cup.

"I've watched Premier League football for the last 40 years so when it was also the First Division and I know what kind of tradition it is to play football over Christmas and on Boxing Day, the 27th, the 30th and even New Year's Day or the 2nd January," Rangnick said to Manchester United's official website.

"So, if somebody came across the idea to abolish then we might as well speak about abolishing the five o'clock tea or the Queen or whatever – this is all part of the tradition of this country and I'm very much looking forward to being part of this for the first time in my career.

"There might be one or two issues we could think about or seriously discuss. In the future does it still make sense to have two cup competitions?

"All other big European leagues have only one so this might be an issue worth talking about again."

Rangnick also voiced his support for the reintroduction of five substitutions in matches as opposed to the regular three as clubs juggle injuries and positive COVID-19 cases.

"Of course, we are also discussing that it makes sense to have five subs instead of three now we have COVID times again," Rangnick continued.

"The reason the five substitutes were implemented was for COVID, now we have a COVID situation again and we still have 18 players on the team-sheet and for me, it makes sense to be able to substitute not just three, but five players."

The 63-year-old has also given opportunities to several teenagers across all competitions, including two starts for Anthony Elanga (104 minutes) and one for Amad Diallo (68 minutes) as well as substitute appearances for a handful of others like Teden Mengi, Shola Shoretire, Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage.

Rangnick insists he was simply continuing a trend set as part of the club's culture long before his arrival.

"I think since the 'Busby Babes' this has always been part of the DNA of the club and the same was true under Sir Alex Ferguson in those 27 years," Rangnick added. 

"It’s not only about youth, it’s about being talented and having the right personality and mentality and if those things come together then of course I want to play as many of those young players as possible.

"We had three, four or five of them in our squad already and for me, it's important to develop those players."

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea says "every moment" working under Ralf Rangnick has been intense since the German's arrival at Old Trafford.

Rangnick was appointed as interim manager last month following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the wake of United's 4-1 Premier League defeat to Watford.

The impact of coronavirus on the Red Devils' schedule means they have played just three games under the former Schalke and RB Leipzig boss: consecutive 1-0 league wins over Crystal Palace and Norwich City, and a 1-1 Champions League draw with Young Boys.

United have recovered the majority of the first-team group following a spike in COVID-19 cases that forced the club to close the training ground last week, with all but the injured Paul Pogba now likely to be available for Monday's trip to Newcastle United.

De Gea is delighted to have United largely at full strength once more and hopes the demanding nature of their training sessions will start to have a greater impact in matches.

"It's great. It's good to have the whole team back to train properly altogether and then, of course, see they are all safe," he told United media.

"They are back, they are all training, they are fine, so it's great to be together again.

"We've been training hard, of course. It's very intense, every training session, every moment with him [Rangnick] is intense.

"You have to give 100 per cent every time in training and in the games. Let's see. It's just the beginning, it's been a couple of weeks, so let's see in the future.

"The team is training with energy, with pace, and now we have to show that in big games."

United are on a four-match winning run against Newcastle in the top flight, their best such streak since a run of five between 2004 and 2006, but they have lost on two of their four most recent visits to St James' Park.

The struggling Magpies were beaten 4-1 in the reverse fixture in September, when Cristiano Ronaldo marked his return to the club with two goals at Old Trafford.

Should Rangnick's men score on Monday, it will mean Newcastle will set a new record for goals conceded by a team in a calendar year in the Premier League: they have let in 79 goals in 2021, the same figure as Ipswich Town back in 1994. 

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has called on the Premier League to reintroduce five substitutions, while also suggesting that the EFL Cup should be abolished to tackle fixture congestion.

The Red Devils face a fixture backlog after their Premier League games with Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion were called off due to a coronavirus outbreak in their camp.

United now have virtually a full squad to choose from ahead of next Monday's return to league action against Newcastle United, with the exception of injured midfielder Paul Pogba.

But in the wake of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson accusing officials of failing to take player welfare seriously, and Jurgen Klopp questioning the quick turnaround in fixtures prior to the Reds' Boxing Day clash with Leeds United being called off, Rangnick believes there are a couple of solutions.

"The five subs were implemented when COVID started, and I think it was the right decision to do that to save energy for players, especially if they have just recovered from COVID," Rangnick said at his pre-match news conference on Thursday.

"The same is true right now – we are in a similar situation to the one we had one-and-a-half years ago, therefore I don't see why it shouldn't be as it was one-and-a-half years ago. As far as I know, in Europe, England is the only country where they only allow three subs.

"You're still allowed eight players on the team sheet, you should be able to replace five or you will always have five players on the bench who cannot be substituted on and cannot play."

The Premier League introduced the five substitutes rule when football resumed in June 2020, but the competition reverted back to the usual three permitted alterations ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

"I think it would be of great help to have five subs," Rangnick added. "I would be much more in favour of having five subs. I think we should seriously think about that again. Most of the players would be in favour of that."

United have played 23 games in all competitions this season, with Chelsea leading the way in that regard among clubs in Europe's top five leagues with 28 matches so far this term.

Rangnick, who is nearly a month into his first coaching position in English football, also proposed the EFL Cup – which United have won on five occasions in its various guises – should perhaps be scrapped to free up more space in an already-congested season.

"England is the only league in the top five leagues in Europe that plays two cup competitions," he said. "France abolished the other one I think a year or two ago.

"This is something we could maybe speak about and discuss. I know the Carabao Cup has been kept for the third and fourth division teams to recoup the financial situations of those clubs.

"I think if we talk about a tight calendar and playing too many games – this is something we can discuss.

"The other issue, which has been changed in the last weeks, is in the FA Cup after a draw you have a replay. I think this [change] is a good idea.

"In other countries you play extra time and penalties and you never have that replay situation. Those might be issues that you can talk about."

Ralf Rangnick has some "difficult decisions" to make when Manchester United face Newcastle United after confirming that all but one of his first-team players are back in training.

United's last two Premier League matches – a trip to Brentford and a home game against Brighton and Hove Albion – were postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the club.

The Red Devils halted first-team operations at their Carrington training ground for 24 hours last week, but players started returning on a staggered basis from Tuesday.

All remaining players were back involved on Thursday, with the exception of injured midfielder Paul Pogba, ahead of next Monday's trip to St James' Park.

And Rangnick reported at his pre-match news conference that he expects to have virtually a full-strength squad to choose from against Newcastle, meaning Raphael Varane should be in contention again after two months out with a groin injury suffered on international duty.

"We shut the training ground last Thursday for four days in order to break the chain. On that day we had eight outfield players and three goalkeepers," Rangnick said.

"As of today, we have now had three days of training this week. We started on Tuesday, then trained yesterday and today. We have 25 outfield players, all apart from Pogba.

"Every other player is on board. The development of the last week was extremely positive.

"As far as I could see today in training, they're all in good shape and all the players did their homework. They had their schedule to train at home and they stuck to that schedule.

"I can say most of them if not all of them might be available, but I might have to make some difficult decisions who will be in the squad and the starting XI."


Manchester United football director John Murtough insists the club will not rush their search for the next permanent manager at Old Trafford. 

The Red Devils appointed Ralf Rangnick as interim boss until the end of the season following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November.

The former Schalke coach has won both his Premier League games in temporary charge of United, earning 1-0 victories over Crystal Palace and Norwich City, while they are due to face Newcastle United on Monday.

The club will seek to appoint a long-term successor to former striker Solskjaer at the conclusion of the campaign, with Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag reportedly among the leading candidates.

Murtough told a fans' forum: "Out of respect for Ole, we did not approach other managers before he left. 

"Our plan then was to appoint an experienced interim manager and Ralf was our clear first choice.

"He's someone I have admired for a long time, and we're delighted he's here. By bringing in Ralf, we can now take time to run a thorough process for our next permanent manager.

"Recruiting a manager is one of the most important decisions a football club makes, so we want to do it in a careful and considered fashion."

Murtough was sad to see Solskjaer depart following the 4-1 defeat at Watford, paying tribute to the Norwegian's contributions since replacing Jose Mourinho in December 2018.

"There were grounds for confidence that we were going to continue building on the progress we saw in the prior two seasons," Murtough added. 

"After the promising early-season results, things went off plan.

"As a club, we felt Ole had earned the right to be given the chance to turn things round, but didn't get a reaction after the international break, and the Watford game made it clear change was needed.

"We're all disappointed at Ole's departure, but he deserves to be judged on his record over the past three years, not his last few weeks. 

"He reset the club's culture and reshaped the squad, leaving us in a stronger position today than when he returned in 2018."

Ralf Rangnick has made further changes to Manchester United's coaching set-up following the appointment of Ewan Sharp as assistant coach and team analyst.

Sharp previously worked under Rangnick at New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC and most recently Lokomotiv Moscow.

The Scotsman's appointment was confirmed on United's official website on Wednesday.

Since taking over as interim manager last month, Rangnick has also brought in coach Chris Armas and sports psychologist Sascha Lense.

First-team coach Michael Carrick departed soon after Rangnick's arrival, while fellow backroom staff member Kieran McKenna was appointed as Ipswich Town boss last week.

Rangnick ​has until the end of the season to make his mark at Old Trafford, with the scope of a further two years as a consultant.

United have won two and drawn one of their first three games under the German and return to action on Monday with a trip to Newcastle United.

Ralf Rangnick has told Anthony Martial to inform him in person if he wants to leave Manchester United, rather than go through his agent.

France international Martial's representative, Philippe Lamboley, said on Friday that the 26-year-old is looking to join a new club in January due to a lack of playing time.

Martial has played just 358 minutes of football for the Red Devils in all competitions this season – the 20th most in the squad – starting only four times.

"Anthony wishes to leave the club in January," Lamboley said to Sky Sports. "He just needs to play. He doesn't want to stay in January and I will speak to the club soon."

But news of the former Monaco player wanting to leave United came as a surprise to recently-appointed interim manager Rangnick.

"I don't communicate with agents via the media and press," Rangnick said. "The player hasn't spoken with me or us about it.

"To be honest, what his agent says via the media is not of that much interest to me. It should be the player. 

"If he really has the wish to go to another club it should be the player who informs either the board or myself. I have never spoken about a player via the media and via agents."

Martial's most recent start came in United's 2-0 Champions League win over Villarreal on November 23 under previous interim boss Michael Carrick.

He has not been part of the squad for Rangnick's first three games in charge, which the German coach explained was down to Martial ruling himself out of contention due to injury.

"After the final training session before the Crystal Palace game, after training with the team, he informed the doctor and the medical department that he would not be available because the pain in his knee is too big," Rangnick said.

"We have to wait and see. Maybe he can train again [before playing Brentford on Tuesday] but I have to speak to the doctor first."

United have won both of their Premier League games since Rangnick took charge, the Red Devils edging past Crystal Palace and Norwich City by the same 1-0 scoreline.

The Red Devils have been hit by a coronavirus outbreak and revealed on Monday they are in discussions with the Premier League over whether the clash against the Bees will go ahead.

Manchester United's Premier League clash with Brentford on Tuesday is in doubt after an outbreak of coronavirus led to the club's training facilities being shut down.

United confirmed on Monday that their Carrington Training Complex would be closed for 24 hours "to minimise risk of any further infection" after several staff and players tested positive for COVID-19.

The Red Devils said discussions were ongoing with the Premier League over whether it is safe for the match at Brentford Community Stadium to go ahead.

A statement read: "Manchester United can confirm that following PCR test confirmation of [Sunday's] positive LFT [lateral flow test] COVID-19 cases among the first team staff and players, the decision has been taken to close down first team operations at the Carrington Training Complex for 24 hours, to minimise risk of any further infection.

"Individuals who tested positive are isolating per Premier League protocols.

"Given cancellation of training and disruption to the squad, and with the health of players and staff the priority, the club is in discussion with the Premier League whether it is safe for Tuesday's fixture against Brentford to continue, both from a COVID infection and player preparation perspective.

"Team and staff travel to London will be deferred pending the result of that discussion."

Sunday's top-flight match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Tottenham was postponed after several confirmed positives among players and staff at the London club.

United have won both of their Premier League matches under interim manager Ralf Rangnick 1-0, with Crystal Palace and Norwich City on the receiving end.

The Premier League provided its usual drama on Saturday with decisive penalties awarded in all but one of the fixtures.

Chelsea left it late against Leeds United in a game that saw referee Chris Kavanagh award three penalties, while Manchester United earned a narrow win thanks to another Cristiano Ronaldo spot-kick.

Liverpool also profited from the penalty spot as Steven Gerrard made his return to Anfield with Aston Villa, and another conversion from 12 yards aided Manchester City at home to Wolves.

Elsewhere, Arsenal cruised past Southampton, who are yet to win at Emirates Stadium in 23 Premier League attempts – the longest winless run for one club away to another in the competition's history.

With tons of action to unpack, Stats Perform takes an in-depth look at the pick of Opta facts from Saturday's clashes.

Manchester City 1-0 Wolves: Jimenez moment of madness gifts Citizens win

Raheem Sterling reached a century of Premier League goals as City scraped by 10-man Wolves, who could not hold on after Raul Jimenez's bizarre red card for two yellows in a matter of seconds.

Jimenez became the first ever Mexican player to receive a red card in the Premier League, making Mexico the 76th nation to have a player dismissed in the competition.

Sterling then scored from the penalty spot after Joao Moutinho was adjudged to have handled, becoming the 32nd player to 100 Premier League goals and the eighth-youngest at 27 years and three days.

Pep Guardiola's side held on to that slender lead and have now won 32 of their 40 league games in 2021 (D2 L6) – only Liverpool in 1982 (33) have won more matches in a single calendar year in English top-flight history.

Chelsea 3-2 Leeds United: Spot-kick drama condemns Whites to another London loss

Leeds have a miserable record in London and that was extended to just two wins in their past 33 matches in all competitions in the capital despite Raphinha finding the net when a first penalty was awarded in the visitors' favour at Stamford Bridge.

Mason Mount cancelled out that opener, before Raphinha became the 13th player – and first Leeds star – to both score and concede a penalty in the same Premier League game when he brought down Antonio Rudiger, allowing Jorginho to score.

Although Joe Gelhardt netted Leeds' first top-flight goal by a teenager since James Milner versus Everton in April 2004 to level the match again, Rudiger won a second penalty – the first Chelsea player to earn two in a Premier League game since Yuri Zhirkov against Aston Villa in March 2010 – deep into stoppage time.

Jorginho settled the result with his second from 12 yards after 93 minutes and 11 seconds, the Blues' latest winning goal in the competition since Florent Malouda's strike against Stoke City in September 2009 (93:36).

Liverpool 1-0 Aston Villa: Salah downs shot-shy Villans

Returning hero Gerrard was greeted with a standing ovation back at Anfield, but the latest king of the Kop ensured his Villa side went away empty-handed. 

Mohamed Salah again made the difference, the Egypt international converting his 15th straight Premier League penalty – the second-longest ever such run in the competition after Matt Le Tissier (23 between 1994 and 2000).

Salah is also now just one game away from Jamie Vardy's record of either scoring or assisting in 15 straight Premier League matches between August and December 2015.

This was Liverpool's 100th 1-0 win in the competition and their second in a row for the first time since December 2015, requiring just the one goal as Villa failed to register a single shot on target in a league match for the first time since December 2019 against Sheffield United.

Norwich City 0-1 Manchester United: Another Ronaldo rescue act for Red Devils

Ralf Rangnick has pinpointed United's defensive issues as a key area to fix and there were more positive signs on that front – at least on the stats sheet.

Rangnick became just the second Manchester United manager to register a clean sheet in his first two league games after Ernest Mangnall in 1903.

United were far from convincing in either defence or attack, though, again relying on David de Gea and match-winner Ronaldo, who won and scored United's 50th successful away Premier League spot-kick – only Liverpool (60) have netted more such goals in the competition's history.

Ronaldo also became only the third player to score for three different United managers in a single season after James Hanson and Joe Spence both did so in 1926-27.

Ralf Rangnick questioned Manchester United's lack of physicality in their narrow 1-0 win over Norwich City and accepted his side have further room for improvement.

United made it back-to-back Premier League victories since Rangnick succeeded Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a caretaker basis thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's 75th-minute penalty.

Ronaldo scored United's 50th spot-kick away from home in the competition – only Liverpool (60) have netted more – after Max Aarons was adjudged to have pulled him down.

The Red Devils laboured for long periods at Carrow Road and required a couple of fine saves from David de Gea to deny Teemu Pukki and Ozan Kabak late on.

United only marginally edged possession (53 per cent) and the pass count (492 attempted to Norwich's 426), and Rangnick was not entirely pleased with his side's performance.

"It was an away game, a very physical, intense game," he told Sky Sports. "I've already told Dean [Smith] they played extremely well, they didn't at all play like a bottom team.

"They played like we did against Crystal Palace. In the first 15 minutes, we were struggling tactically, but then it was better. We didn't allow them many chances in the first half. 

"In the second half, we had a better body language up front but still allowed them too many chances and corners. In the end, it was De Gea that made sure it was a clean sheet.

"It's about intensity of the game, physicality, body language. On this kind of level, you need to be physically present, and this was not always the case. 

"In some situations it was the case, but not always. If you want to keep control of a game like this, you have to be physically present, and this was not the case in all positions."

United finished the match with an expected goals (xG) return of 2.04, scoring from one of their 13 shots, five of which were on target – the same number Norwich managed.

Rangnick added: "Some of our players are technical players, and today there was not so much space for technical solutions. 

"Then you need to be physically brave and compete on that kind of level with regard to physicality, and that was something we didn't do in all positions."

Asked if his side played with less physicality than was on show in last week's 1-0 win against Crystal Palace, Rangnick said: "That was not deliberate. 

"It was an away game today and the other team played much more aggressive than Palace did against us, therefore we need to raise our level of intensity in games like that.

"It's not only a question of individual players, it's how we play together as a team. But it's also a question of who wins balls, what about the second balls? 

"Do we get the second balls? As I said, in each position, it was not the same.

"You learn with every game, but at least we got the three points, another clean sheet. We need to improve, we need to get better, that's for sure."

Rangnick is just the second United manager to register a clean sheet in his first two league games in charge of the club after Ernest Mangnall in 1903.

Harry Maguire, who played a full part in both games and led the way against Norwich with a game-high six clearances, was happy to come away from Norfolk with three points.

"It was a tough game," he told Sky Sports. "We didn't play as well as we'd like to play. It was tough conditions to play in. But it's an important three points and a clean sheet for us.

"When you're playing week in week out, some performances aren't going to be at the highest. 

"We had to dig deep and stick together. We had to show spirit and we got three points. But we have to play better than that if we're going to achieve what we want to achieve.

"We've been very disappointed with our defensive record this year. David pulled off two or three big saves to keep a clean sheet. 

"They were top saves from a top keeper and that's what we expect. Two on the bounce we need to build on and go again on Tuesday."

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick said it is too early to discuss transfer plans for the January window, though he insisted the Red Devils will only make a move for a "high-quality player".

United have been linked with a number of players since former RB Leipzig boss Rangnick was appointed manager until the end of the season following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking.

Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara and Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips have emerged as reported targets at Old Trafford, while Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix has also been linked.

But as Rangnick, who has only overseen two matches, continues to gain a better understanding of his squad, the German attempted to curb expectations ahead of next month's window.

"I've got to know them better obviously in this week, I saw most of them play in two games," Rangnick said ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Norwich City. "We've three or four or five training sessions but it's still too early to speak about what we might do in the transfer window."

"If I look at the number of players we have it's still a big squad, we definitely do not have not enough players but we also need to make sure that players want to stay here," he said.

"If they're not getting enough game time, it might make sense to speak individually with those players, to see what might work."

Rangnick added: ''My opinion on winter transfers is clear. It needs to be a player that improves the whole team. It needs to be a high-quality player, no matter what area of the pitch. If it's a midfielder or whatever it is, it needs to be a player that really helps us to get better.

"On the other hand, it needs to be a player that can perhaps move in the winter, then discussions can begin to be made. But only then if those two things come together will it serve us well. We also need, for this competitive league, to have the best possible mentality.

"They need to be mature and have a built-in winning mentality. For me, mentality is even more crucial than anything in the world.''

United, who are sixth in the standings and 11 points behind leaders Manchester City, are winless in their last four Premier League matches against promoted sides (D3 L1) – the Red Devils have not gone five league games in succession without a victory against such sides since a run of seven between January 1992 and January 1993.

After an English-league record 29 consecutive away games unbeaten, United have now lost two of their last four on the road, conceding four goals in both defeats.

This will be Rangnick's first away league match in charge of United – none of the previous four permanent Red Devils managers have lost their first league game on the road (W3 D1), with Alex Ferguson the last to do so (2-0 at Oxford United in November 1986).

Ralf Rangnick will not attempt to convince Paul Pogba to sign a new contract with Manchester United should the midfielder wish to move away.

Pogba, who has not featured for United since sustaining a hamstring injury on international duty with France in October, is out of contract at the end of the season.

The 28-year-old previously indicated he does not intend to agree fresh terms at Old Trafford, where he has spent the past five and a half years in his second spell with the Premier League club.

Agent Mino Raiola confirmed on Friday that Pogba has been offered a contract extension in Manchester, while suggesting Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich may make a move for his client.

LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Ligue 1 powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain have been regularly linked with the Frenchman, meanwhile, and former side Juventus are also reported to hold an interest. 

With Pogba's future yet again the subject of intense speculation, interim United manager Rangnick does not believe it is his job to talk any player into staying at the club.

"I wouldn't say he is not worth keeping but players need to want to stay and play for the club," Rangnick said ahead of Saturday's trip to Norwich City.

"If a player doesn't want to play for a club like Manchester United, even in the long term, I don't think it makes sense to convince him to change his mind.

"This is such a massive club, with fantastic support, I don't think anyone at the club should try to convince a player to stay.

"Let's have him come back, get fully fit and training with the team, then we will see where we stand."

Since re-joining from Serie A's Juventus in August 2016, Pogba has played 62 per cent of United's Premier League minutes (11,502 played out of a possible 18,450).

Despite featuring in just 13 of United's 22 games in all competitions this term, Pogba's tally of seven assists is bettered only by Bruno Fernandes (eight) among his team-mates.

Indeed, each of those assists have come in the Premier League from nine appearances. 

Of those to have played as many games in Europe's top five leagues this term, only four others have assisted more goals per 90 minutes than Pogba (1) – Kevin Behrens, Luis Muriel (both 1.02), Mathias Pereira Lage (1.12) and Louis Schaub (1.25).

Pogba is due to return from a training camp in Dubai this weekend, but Rangnick does not expect him to make his first-team comeback until next year. 

"I have to get to know him I have to speak to him when he is back. It is about being fully physically fit. The way we want to play is high intensity," the German added.

"It will take some time for him to get fully fit. Once he is fully fit, I see him as a midfielder rather than a striker or a left winger.

"The only thing of interest to me is how do we get him fully fit.

"He can be an important player, I am fully aware of that. But that is true for all the players. I am not only the coach of Paul Pogba. I am also the coach of all the other players."

Ralf Rangnick has earmarked improving the defence at Manchester United as the main priority for success at Old Trafford.

The former RB Leipzig head coach has overseen two games since his arrival in Manchester, winning his first against Crystal Palace – becoming the first of six German managers to win their opening Premier League game – before a 1-1 draw against Young Boys.

While Rangnick fielded a youthful side against the Swiss team, United have now failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five home group-stage matches – their longest run in the Champions League.

United also went 15 consecutive home matches without a clean sheet, their longest run without a shutout since a 21-game spell between 1958 and 1959, before keeping Palace at bay in the 1-0 win last Sunday.

That poor period of defensive form has left them 11 points off the early pace of leaders Manchester City and Rangnick explained that he is prioritising finding a solution to be more resolute at the back.

"So far, I'm more than happy with their attitude again and their eagerness to learn information that will help them get better, not only against the ball but also with the ball," Rangnick told Sky Sports on Friday.

"We had only two clean sheets until the Crystal Palace game and no clean sheets since last April at Old Trafford, it was very clear for me where our focus should be for the first few days and weeks.

"With this group of players we can produce more clean sheets regularly, we are making sure we don't concede goals or even allow them to shoot on our goal.

"The more we do that, the more I am convinced that we can win games because with this group and players we are always going to create chances and opportunities to score ourselves."

United travel to Norwich City on Saturday in Rangnick's first away Premier League fixture, with none of the last four permanent Red Devils managers losing their maiden such game since Alex Ferguson in 1986.

New Norwich head coach Dean Smith is looking to become the first manager since Andy Aitken in 1908-09 to defeat United with two different clubs in a single season, having already tasted victory with former club Aston Villa.

But Smith has revealed the club are waiting anxiously on coronavirus tests for a couple of players ahead of the game at Carrow Road.

"We have got a couple of knocks and have got a couple of Covid-related issues that we are waiting on results for," said Smith.

"I can't really let you in on any names, but there's a couple of players who we are worried about, so we have tested and we will wait for the PCR results.

"They are just feeling a little bit unwell, but it is not likely to be linked to the game last week with Tottenham."

Ralf Rangnick has been in contact with the injured Paul Pogba as he continues to get to know his Manchester United players and instil his methods.

Rangnick defeated Crystal Palace 1-0 in his first game in charge last Sunday, becoming the first of six German managers to win their opening game in the Premier League.

A youthful United side, which featured six teenagers for just the fifth time in Champions League history, were then held to a 1-1 draw by Young Boys at Old Trafford and the Red Devils now prepare to visit Norwich City on Saturday.

They will do so, however, without Pogba – who is currently in Dubai in an attempt to recover from a thigh injury – but Rangnick explained he has spoken to the France international as he continues to outline his plans with the squad.

"We spoke over the phone two days ago or on Tuesday," Rangnick told reporters at Friday's news conference. 

"He was still in Dubai, he's expected to come back today and we will get to know each other in person on Sunday. We had a telephone call for around 10 or 15 minutes and he told me he was getting better. 

"Obviously, he still isn't fully fit and from what I've heard it will take another couple of weeks until he's fit for training again. He has been out for quite some time so it will take another couple of weeks to get him match fit."

Rangnick faces his first away game in the Premier League against Norwich, with none of the last four permanent United managers losing their first league game on the road since Alex Ferguson in November 1986.

However, Norwich head coach Dean Smith has already beaten United this term with Aston Villa.

He is aiming to become the first manager since Andy Aitken in 1908-09 to beat United with two different clubs in the same top-flight season.

Rangnick, though, has been satisfied with his side's work ethic so far as he looks to build on a pleasing showing against Palace.

"In the first instance, it was about getting to know the players," he added. "We did quite a lot of video footage with them in order to tell them how we want to play. 

"As we all saw, they did well in that game. Not everything was perfect, but quite a few things worked out well. We were always on the front foot, we had control of the game. 

"Now it's about taking the next steps. What we showed against Crystal Palace was good. We didn't allow them to score or give them too many opportunities.

"[Norwich] have improved since the change of managers. They play a little bit more direct, a little bit more vertical than they did with Daniel Farke, so it will be a challenge to play at Carrow Road.

"But we want to improve our performance, we want to build on what we showed against Crystal Palace and hopefully get the next win tomorrow."

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