Ralf Rangnick reckons Man Utd lack physicality as Champions League hopes dwindle after Leicester tie

BRUNO FERNANDES, who jumped out of a challenge with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall ahead of Leicester’s goal, summed up how soft Manchester United have become.

And interim coach of the Red Devils, Ralf Rangnick, simply explained the bleeding afterwards.

Ralf Rangnick admits Man Utd side lack physicality


Ralf Rangnick admits Man Utd side lack physicalityPhoto credit: Reuters
Bruno Fernandes (left) seen seconds before equalizing from a tackle from Leicester City's Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall


Bruno Fernandes (left) seen seconds before equalizing from a tackle from Leicester City’s Kiernan Dewsbury-HallCredit: PA

Most of those who had left Old Trafford by the full-time whistle were too disappointed and disillusioned to even point a finger.

They have known for a long time that the current team does not have the courage to stand up and count themselves.

That show was just another soulless sell-out of everything United is meant to stand for – and reiterated whoever the summer’s new manager will be will need to add muscle, dynamism and strength.

The chances of a place in the Champions League next season are falling fast and Rangnick has had enough.

The German said: “I never doubt or question the character of players and from what I’ve seen so far I don’t think we lack character.

“But what was evident in some parts of the game was that in terms of physicality we were second best. It was one-on-one duels. When there was physical contact, too often we were second best.

“It’s something we need to get better at for the rest of this season – but even more so for next season.”

Unlike defending midfielder Fernandes, who has just signed a whopping new £240,000-a-week contract, he admitted: “The same was true of Fred and he’s one of our physical and aggressive players.


“But I’m not just talking about that particular moment, there were quite a few other moments.

“I just felt like we could have been more dynamic, more physical and more aggressive. But we weren’t in those moments. . . ”

Rangnick recognizes that some simply don’t have what it takes and adds: “It has to be a bit in a player’s DNA, to be honest.

“It’s difficult to turn a technically great player into a physically aggressive player and we have a lot of guys who are technically skilled.

“In a day where we’re fluid and in our rhythm, we’ve shown we can beat teams.

“But that was difficult. Leicester were aggressive and physical in many parts of the game. We had problems with them.

“It is what it is and it is difficult to change. I don’t think it has to do with the mindset, but with the DNA of the players.”

But the shorthand of his description of the team is that too many are dimwitted, shying away from challenges and not fighting for the cause.

That if they can’t assert themselves through games, they usually can’t win and get bullied off the ball too often. In other words, to “technical”.


Rangnick caused trouble by leaving striker Marcus Rashford on the bench when he was already without Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood.

For 55 minutes, the England striker had to watch as Fernandes weakly tried to play as a fake No9.

Behind him, Paul Pogba was no better, already a distant figure before finally leaving for free – again – this summer.

Rangnick will also disappear from view by then, but it remains to be seen whether he will actually take on his role as an advisor.

His condemnation sounded bridge-burning, but he offered advice for those tasked with building a new team.

He stressed: “Both Manchester City and Liverpool were built and recruited over a period of five or six years. Everything under the premise of how the coaches want to play. This has to happen.

“I told the board this had to happen. It must always be clear to the new head coach how he wants to play and which players we need for that.

“Then we come back to DNA, speed, physicality, pace, what do we need. There is no shortage of technical players in this team. It can do with more physicality.

“It takes the right decisions and where you want to go, what kind of players, what kind of manager. Then try to get the best out of each window.

“It’s possible. It’s not rocket science. It has to be done and it doesn’t necessarily take three or four years, maybe two or three transfer windows – then the situation could be different.” Ralf Rangnick reckons Man Utd lack physicality as Champions League hopes dwindle after Leicester tie


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