Rangnick's press conference: Every word
Ralf Rangnick addressed questions from journalists ahead of Manchester United's midweek Premier League fixture away at Brentford.
The interim manager was speaking at midday on Tuesday before United's last training session prior to the game, which is due to kick off at 20:00 GMT this Wednesday, 19 January.
Rangnick responded to questions on Brentford's rise to the Premier League and Anthony Elanga's excellent performance on Saturday, and provided injury updates on Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba.
He also gave further insight into the situation with Anthony Martial.
Read every word from the German below...
Brentford [A]: Part one of Ralf's press conference
What did Ralf discuss with the media? Progression, Brentford, injuries, Martial, Elanga, Ronaldo and more...
Good morning, Ralf. When you're looking to build winning momentum, is it difficult to do it on the pitch by playing three games in the week or would you rather have it on the training ground? Can you do it by playing games?
"Yes, obviously, we could. We also could before the league game against Aston Villa. For me, if I compare our two games, in the cup and the league, I think we did a lot better in the league game at Villa Park. The performance in the first 70 minutes was really good. I liked our movements, I liked our game in possession of the ball, the structure of the game, the way we pressed, either in the first line or in the second line. Even when we had to defend our own box in the first 70 minutes, we did that well. And this is what for me is the most important thing. We have to build on that, show a similar performance tomorrow at Brentford, but not only for 70 minutes, for 90, 95, 97, 98 minutes, however long the game will take. Yes, we had yesterday and the day before yesterday two training sessions. We will have the final training session now, in an hour's time, and then, yes, as I say, we have to show a similar performance and a similar level that we showed against Villa for the whole game tomorrow."
Manchester United have not been to Brentford since 1947 which is a very long time. I think it shows the job that Thomas Frank has done to get a small club into the Premier League. What do you think of that job and how dangerous do you think they are in their own stadium?
"Yes, I think they've had some good results at home against top teams. It will not be an easy game, nobody will expect this to be an easy game but the same was true before we played Aston Villa at Villa Park. We showed we're up to that kind of standard and level and, as I said, we should have taken those three points. I think at the end, we ran a little bit out of steam in the last 20 minutes, but in the first 70 minutes I was really pleased with the performance."
Just on a team news front, will Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo be available? And we also saw a picture of Paul Pogba training, we were expecting him back later, so will he be back sooner than you expected?
"Yeah, Cristiano and Marcus were training yesterday so I suppose they will also train today, but in the press conference before the Villa game I was also convinced Cristiano would be available and he wasn't so, like I say, we have to wait for the training session today, in an hour's time. Right now, I think they could both be available. Paul Pogba had his first day of training with the whole group yesterday and in the first training session he showed what kind of extraordinary player he could be. He will not be available for the two games this week but hopefully after the international break, when we have the cup game against Middlesbrough and the away game at Burnley, I think he could be an option."
I just want to ask about Anthony Martial. What you said after the match at Aston Villa caused some headlines and he posted on Instagram saying he would never not play for Manchester United if called upon. So what is the situation with him and does he have a future under you at Manchester United?
"I'm here now for six weeks and all the things that need to be said I said after, in the press conference. I had a conversation with him on Sunday, and also a conversation about what happened and how I saw the whole situation. The matter is now resolved. He didn't train yesterday and the day before yesterday. He will probably train today, and after training I will then take the decision if he is nominated or not. Let's see what will happen."
Can I ask you about Anthony Elanga? Why did you select him - what do you see in him, what does he bring, what's his personality like?
"Yes, he's a young player. He has enough pace, he has enough focus on the game. From the very first training session, the day before the Crystal Palace game, he just showed me, he was showing up in the training sessions and, yeah, that was the reason why I decided to play him at Villa Park. I think he did well, he showed me exactly what I expected him to deliver in that game. He's a very polite boy, he's doing the [right] things, he listens to what he should do and he's trying to put all the effort into his performances. I was pleased with his performance in those 75 minutes he played."
On Cristiano Ronaldo, he was honoured at the FIFA awards last night. When you have a player of such exceptional talent, do you have to build the team around that one player or is it the player that has to find a way to work in your system?
"One does not exclude the other. Of course, what he has done in his career so far is amazing. I mean, 800 goals in competitive games, nobody has achieved that before in the last, I don't know, 80 or 100 years. This shows what kind of player he is, what kind of exceptional player he is. He was not available in the last two games against Aston Villa. He trained again for the first time yesterday, he will probably train today again, and then we will have to see if he's an option for the game against Brentford tomorrow. But even with an outstanding Cristiano Ronaldo, we are talking about a team sport in one of the most competitive leagues in the world, or the most competitive league in the world, and he cannot do things on his own. We can only improve and get better as a team. He is one important member of this team and this is how we have to develop it."
We've seen more Premier Leagues game postponed this weekend. Can I get your views on that? Do you feel that the rule around those postponements is getting abused by some clubs?
"I can only speak about our club here. We had some problems four weeks ago, right now we don't have any issues. We have players available, we didn't have any COVID cases in the last couple of weeks so, again, I cannot judge what happens in other clubs and therefore for me it's something the Premier League has to deal with and they will do that in the best possible way."
It's obviously really positive news about Pogba. What do you make of him and what's his best position? And also can I ask, are the club any closer to extending his contract?
"I don't know. I cannot answer the second part of your question because it's not me dealing with this, I'm not negotiating about future contracts with players. But what you could see from the very first day in training yesterday is that he's present. He's physically present, he's mentally present. What I saw in training yesterday was very promising for the future and I'm very much looking forward to having him available in two weeks' time after the international break, and I think he will be a serious candidate for the first eleven."