Rashford’s emotional involvement dropped in Villa win, says Ralf Rangnick

  • ‘After 30 minutes he got worse,’ admits Manchester United coach

  • ‘Does he need a helping hand? What does that take?’

Ralf Rangnick has admitted Marcus Rashford’s emotional involvement dropped after the opening 30 minutes of Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Aston Villa but the interim manager believes the forward and the rest of his squad do have the correct attitude.

Rashford appeared out of form and lacking mental sharpness during Monday’s 1-0 win. Later in the week Cristiano Ronaldo discussed how younger players cannot be forced to listen to advice from senior ones such as himself and talked about the mentality required to be an elite footballer. The Portuguese stated he was talking generally and did not name any teammates but Rangnick was asked to assess the squad’s mentality.

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“We need to discuss what mentality means,” he said. “If one of our players in the game doesn’t give his very best and put all the effort into it then I will address that; you can be assured of that. So far I haven’t seen that but with some players they start well [in games] – if we speak about Marcus Rashford, for example, in the first minutes against Villa he was good, he was on fire, he was emotionally involved. But then after 30 minutes he got worse and didn’t play on the same kind of energetic level as the first half an hour.

“We need to speak about that. I do that regularly [wondering] does he need a helping hand? What does that take? So I don’t see any of the players who don’t care about the club or who don’t want to perform to the highest possible level. As long as he [Rashford] is trying to give his very best. There were quite a few training sessions in the last couple of weeks where he trained on a really high level and that’s why I always gave him the chance to play.”

Rangnick is happy for Ronaldo and other senior professionals to guide the junior ones. “We have to work and develop as a team together and if it’s necessary to speak in a very direct manner to the boys, it helps a lot, even in the locker room. If Cristiano, for example, or any of the other players address on the pitch or in the dressing room they are more than welcome to do that. It’s not only Cristiano, we have Edinson [Cavani], we have Harry [Maguire], David de Gea, Victor Lindelöf, Bruno [Fernandes].

Marcus Rashford is substituted by Ralf Rangnick during Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Aston Villa
Marcus Rashford is substituted by Ralf Rangnick during Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Aston Villa. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

“In a united team that happens automatically and I can only invite and challenge and tell all the players – also the older players – to do that on a regular basis.”

Rangnick said he would like Donny van de Beek to stay but acknowledged the midfielder wanted more game time with the World Cup in mind and did not rule out a loan. “Louis van Gaal [the Netherlands manager] obviously told him that in order to be a regular starter in the World Cup he needs to regularly play for his team,” Rangnick said. “Again, I can understand his wish and desire to play. On the other hand, we have a lot of competition in our squad exactly in those positions.”