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Ralf Rangnick admits he regrets failing to develop a better team spirit among the Manchester United squad as he reflects on his time at Old Trafford and prepares for his final game away to Crystal Palace
Ralf Rangnick admits his biggest regret as Manchester United’s interim manager is that he failed to foster a better team spirit among the players.
Rangnick was brought in after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November with the aim of salvaging United’s season, but he couldn’t prevent the club’s worst Premier League campaign on record.
The German, who will take charge of his final game at Crystal Palace on Sunday before handing over to Erik ten Hag, believes United fell away after going out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid and blames a lack of team spirit in the camp.
Ralf Rangnick has opened up on his regrets from his time as Manchester United interim boss
Erik ten Hag is expected to be in the stands to watch United play Crystal Palace on Sunday
‘Since the Atletico game, we didn’t find our shape or form again,’ said Rangnick. ‘This has to do with confidence, also mentality and team spirit. For me, the biggest disappointment is we didn’t develop a certain team spirit. This is the biggest issue.
‘We have to see it in different areas and periods of time. Until we dropped out against Atletico, we lost confidence and energy in the team. Until then, I think we stabilised the team defensively compared to the team that shipped four goals against Watford away (in Solskjaer’s last game).
‘Until then, we were more stable defensively. What didn’t happen is this development happened in a stable way. Either we had problems to score goals or preventing goals being scored against us.
‘I still strongly believe there is a core of players who are top and well worth and good enough to play at this club. Hopefully those players will still be here next season.
‘If we bring in the right mentality players, quality players, I’m positive we will be able to bring this club back on track and to the top. Maybe it won’t happen in one transfer window, but I’m very positive it can happen in the next two or three windows.’
Rangnick revealed that a number of players are doubtful for the Palace game including Luke Shaw who was hoping to play for the first time since the start of April but had to miss training when his wife went into labour with their second child.
Jadon Sancho and Phil Jones were also forced to pull out of training and Alejandro Garnacho only rejoined the first-team group on Friday after illness.
Jadon Sancho and Luke Shaw are both doubts for United’s trip to Palace on Sunday
United need to match or better West Ham’s result to keep sixth place and qualify for the Europa League – otherwise they will finish seventh and face the ignominy of the Europa Conference League.
‘I think the players want to get things right and do things better than at Brighton,’ said Rangnick, who saw his side beaten 4-0 on the South Coast last time out.
‘I am also positive they would rather play in the Europa League rather than the Conference.
‘I think it is a big difference if a club like Manchester United plays in Europa League than the Conference. You could see a club like Eintracht Frankfurt who finished in lower half of Bundesliga but won the Europa League and qualified for the Champions League. This should also be an incentive.’