Brentford: Every word from Ralf's press conference
Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has spoken to the media ahead of our first-ever Premier League meeting with Brentford.
The Reds take on the Bees at the Brentford Community Stadium on Tuesday evening as we look to record our third straight league win under our German interim boss.
During a video call with reporters after Saturday's victory at Norwich, Rangnick was asked if he will rotate his starting XI due to the quick turnaround between fixtures. The 63-year-old also answered questions on how United have worked to tighten things up at the back with two consecutive league clean sheets, and on Anthony Martial's situation, given the Frenchman has missed the last two games.
Here's every word from the interim boss ahead of the Brentford trip...
Given there is quite a tight turnaround between games, will you look to freshen up the team Tuesday?
"I think now [Saturday evening] is too early to speak about that. I would wait to see how the players have recovered tomorrow or Monday. Tomorrow they will train with the players that haven’t played or have only played a couple of minutes today. I saw the game against Brentford on Friday and it’s a very high-intensity team, more physical than Norwich played today. We need to be aware and prepared for that different level of intensity. We have to wait and see. A few players are available again. Luke Shaw, who was in the squad today, Wan-Bissaka will be available again on Tuesday, and even Edi [Cavani] might be an option, so we have to wait and see. It’s too early."
When you talk about intensity of the Norwich and Brentford, why is it they’re not talking about your intensity? Because surely if you match their intensity, your extra ability should see you win the game?
"Yes, we were fully aware of how Norwich would play today. On the other hand, it’s a question of how you react to that. The action of the team is vital, especially in away games. In the end, we had a clean sheet, which is the most important thing, and we had another three points. Although, last week, it was a home game against a Crystal Palace team that didn’t attack as high and as intense as Norwich did today. We need to take the next steps and it’s easier to take the next steps if you’re winning games. The second consecutive win this season, the second clean sheet. Those are the things we can build on upon. As I said, in defence, the full-backs, the centre-backs and the two number sixes [Fred and McTominay] did extremely well and now we have to raise to the highest possible level that we play against the ball also."
You mentioned clean sheets there and you said they were one of your priorities when you came to United. How do you address that? How do you improve the team in terms of being hard to score goals against?
"It can only be achieved as a whole team. It’s not only the back four, the two sixes and the goalkeeper. The whole team has to defend in unison, together as a team. As I said, so far, we have two clean sheets in the league. We won 1-0 today, away, in a difficult game. We tend to call those games the ’30 games 1-0’. It wasn’t the nicest one. In the second half, in my opinion, we just conceded too many corner kicks, too many free-kicks from the side and therefore it was a game that could have gone into the other direction. We needed a fantastic goalkeeper, a few headers in the centre of defence."
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Anthony Martial wasn’t in the squad at Norwich, so can I check, is that a knee injury still? And, his agent came out on the weekend saying that he wanted to look at opportunities to leave the club in January. I just wondered about your thoughts on that…
"Well, I don’t communicate with agents via the media or the press. The player hasn’t spoken with me or with us about it. After the final training session before the Crystal Palace game, after having trained with the team, he informed the doctor and the medical department that the pain on his knee is too big. So, we have to wait and see, maybe he can train tomorrow but I have to speak to the doctor first. To be honest, what his agent has said in the media is not that much of interest."
Just following up on that, will you now speak to Anthony and get his version on what his agent has said?
"No, because then I’d react to what the agent has said. It should be the player. If a player wishes to go to another club, it should be the player who informs either the board or myself, whoever. I have never spoken to a player via media or agents."