Will Ralf make changes?

Saturday 19 February 2022 07:00

Ralf Rangnick has suggested he will look to play his strongest possible Manchester United team against both Leeds United and Atletico Madrid.

Just over 72 hours separate the trips to Yorkshire and the Spanish capital and both games are vital as the Reds chase a top-four place and further progress in this season’s Champions League.

Ralf believes the players will have had enough rest between the Brighton and Leeds matches, but admitted some form of rotation may be necessary next week, if not for Atletico then for Saturday’s visit of Watford.

“Possibly, yes,” Rangnick replied when asked if he’d need to make changes.

Rangnick's team news bulletin


Our interim manager provides an update on his squad for the game at Leeds United.

“Maybe for Wednesday or Saturday but not so much physically for Sunday’s game because the last game was on Tuesday, so five days between Tuesday and Sunday, I don’t think that it will be necessary to rest some players for the Leeds game.

“What we will do, we will try to play the best possible team to win the game at Leeds, and, then again, we do the same for the game against Atletico on Wednesday.”

The German was forced into altering his backline when the Seagulls came to town this week, with Victor Lindelof replacing Raphael Varane, who was ill.

Lindelof helped United to a sixth top-flight clean sheet of the campaign and, after a tough January personally, is firmly in the manager’s thoughts for a starting place once again.

“He’s a top professional and he did well before he was ill and before he had the incident with his house,” Ralf added.

Part 1 of Ralf's press conference: Leeds away Video

Part 1 of Ralf's press conference: Leeds away

Watch part one of Ralf's press conference for the latest on our squad, club captaincy and Leeds away...

“For me, from now on, he will play and he is also a candidate to play so we have enough players in the centre of defence who can play with a high amount of experience.

“In the end, it’s the players themselves, who decide who is going to play on the next game [with their performances in training and matches].”

The Reds’ midfield ranks have been boosted in recent weeks too, with the return of Paul Pogba while Fred has also come back from his COVID-19 setback.

Ralf also pointed out that Jesse Lingard is training well, which further adds to the choices he has, although he acknowledges having so many players available is a nice problem to have.

“To start with, it is good and important to have Paul back again and available.

“But obviously we have a high level of competition still, we have Fred, so we have enough players, we have Jesse Lingard in good shape in training, so we still have a high level of competition in each area of the field, of the pitch - be it the backline, the midfield or up front. 

“So right now, it is not easy to decide and choose the right players, but it is better this way, than having only 15 or 16 outfield players available.”