Rangnick damning of Man Utd squad but insists he does not regret taking job

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Ralf Rangnick provided a frank assessment of a Manchester United squad that he believes is "not easy" to manage and potentially contains several players who cannot cope with the pressure of playing for the club.

United head into Saturday's clash with relegation-threatened Norwich City having won just one of their previous five Premier League matches.

The most recent of which was a dire 1-0 defeat last weekend to an Everton side that had lost six of seven top-flight games beforehand.

United's performance in that loss led to even greater concern among the fanbase about the collective mentality and attitude of the squad, with a small group of supporters staging a protest outside the training ground on Friday.

Another larger demonstration is expected at Old Trafford on Saturday, and Rangnick accepts there could be certain individuals in the team who are not equipped to handle the expectation on Man Utd players.

"I don't know if this is the case, but it might be, at least with one or two or three of our players, it seems to be like that," Rangnick said.

"That the level of expectation is high and that some of the players seem to struggle with their own performance with that.

"Again, no alibis, no excuses, we have to be ready to cope and deal with it for [Saturday], for sure I am fully aware of that, and I’m also convinced and very positive that all of the players know about this.

"This is a test of character tomorrow and mentality in this game. We are playing against the bottom team. Yes, I know they won against Burnley last week and we know that Everton lost against Burnley the week before and we also thought we should be psychologically in a better position than Everton, but we have to show it on the pitch.

"Whatever we talk about right now, whatever kind of speculation we have and whatever you think, or I think might be reasons for the performance at Everton, we have to be able to, in our own house, beat a team like Norwich and show the best possible performance. This is what it’s all about but the truth, the reality, is on the pitch, whatever we talk about right now."

Reports this week have suggested United are close to appointing Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as their new permanent manager, and on the evidence of 2021-22, the Dutchman will be presiding over a massive rebuild.

Rangnick was hired in an interim capacity in November, with United hopeful he could get them back on track for a top-four finish – that now appears beyond them, though the German insists he has no regrets even as he gave a fairly damning summary of his squad.

"No, I have no regrets whatsoever that I took that role. I would do it over and over again," he continued. "You have to see the situation that we had in December, and I don’t regret that at all.

"As a manager, I always think you have to question and ask yourself what could I have done better. Could you maybe have played with a different formation in this game, or could you have made this substitution earlier on? This is what is always happening.

"We always question and ask ourselves what we could have done better but in general, I think we are all aware that this is not an easy squad.

"That the whole situation was not easy, otherwise I wouldn't even be sitting here, and Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] would probably still be here.

"But again, I think we have shown in the past, in the last couple of months that we were able to raise the level but in the same sustainable way that I would wish it to have happened. And that's the reason why I am not happy at all with what we have done and achieved so far."

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