Man Utd: Ralf Rangnick’s players need to grow up and stop the leaks, says Micah Richards


The dressing room should be the most secure place a footballer can spend time professionally, somewhere that issues of trust should never be doubted.

You know criticism and doubts are everywhere outside the club, whether it is from the media or opposition fans, but within the sanctuary of where you get changed every day, everyone should be together and have confidence in being united.

So the idea that things could leak out of a dressing room — and be detrimental to your own club — is a concept I cannot get my head around. It is why I am flabbergasted by the constant cycle of news that keeps coming out of Manchester United, one that consistently puts them in a bad light.

Manchester United's stars must ensure there aren't any more leaks from the dressing room

Manchester United’s stars must ensure there aren’t any more leaks from the dressing room

Reports suggested assistant boss Chris Armas has been dubbed 'Ted Lasso' by some players

Reports suggested assistant boss Chris Armas has been dubbed ‘Ted Lasso’ by some players

Harry Maguire has struggled and there have been rumours of a rift with Cristiano Ronaldo

Harry Maguire has struggled and there have been rumours of a rift with Cristiano Ronaldo

Reports emerged last week that Chris Armas, Ralf Rangnick’s American assistant, has been dubbed Ted Lasso by some of the squad. For those of you who don’t know, Ted Lasso is the main character from the TV series of the same name. He is an American coach, with limited knowledge of football, brought into work with a British team.

Whoever has come up with that will think it is funny but, really, it is beyond a joke. It is totally disrespectful and says more about them than it does Armas. That is the thing about United at the moment — someone else is always to blame when results go wrong, it is never the players.

This is the time when they should be getting their heads down and working, looking to improve the situation. Yes, they got a good result against Brighton in midweek but there is still much more that needs to change before they can start making proper progress.

When I look at United, I see too much disorganisation. Look at Rangnick. Everyone knew his biggest asset was organising things behind the scenes. If United had brought him into a consultancy role, after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left, it would have looked like they had a plan.

United should have just brought Rangnick in as a consultant rather than as interim manager

United should have just brought Rangnick in as a consultant rather than as interim manager

But now Rangnick has had a spell as a manager, during which results have not been as good as they should be, so if he goes behind the scenes at the end of the year, rightly or wrongly people will be questioning his credentials to oversee the improvements United need.

Had they approached things the other way around, allowing Rangnick to come in and make changes to the structure, they would have been given credit but going at it from the direction they have has not helped settle the situation.

Structure is an important word. It is obviously in place at Liverpool and Manchester City but look at Southampton as a different example — they have got a clear idea in the manager they want, the players they buy, the youngsters they promote and they are healthy for it.

United seem to be operating under a banner of buying the best name available and worrying about what happens later: Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Paul Pogba — they are all beautiful footballers but not known for playing on the front foot. The very best teams now press high up all over the pitch and are aggressive with it. The thing that characterises them, however, is their unity — the ability to hunt in packs and work for one another, to dig in when things aren’t going to plan.

You grind out those results when you know you are pulling in the same direction. If there is a doubt about someone’s character in the dressing room, believe me, it will show up in performances and results. United, more often than not, make you feel you are watching a team of individuals.

United seem to sign big names like Jadon Sancho (L) and Paul Pogba (R) without having a plan

United seem to sign big names like Jadon Sancho (L) and Paul Pogba (R) without having a plan 

It feels like every decision they make creates another problem or someone will do something that presents an opportunity for people to speak negatively about the club. If Ronaldo storms off at the end or shows discontent at being substituted, as an example, surely he knows the headlines it creates?

When Fernandes dashes off on his own to try to win the ball back, then throws his arms up if someone has not followed him, can’t he see it gives opponents a sense United are vulnerable? By all means lose your temper behind closed doors but surely you stick together in public. It really is time everyone started to pull in the right direction. Seemingly, however, that is not the case for Manchester United right now, as why else would a cheap dig such as Ted Lasso have made it out of the camp?

Let me put it another way: if I had been in a dressing room where someone was known to be the source of a negative stories, I would have had zero respect for them. I wracked my brains to see if there was an example of something I could use as a parallel but nothing came to mind.

That tells me I was blessed to be in places where we knew the importance of sticking together. You do not undermine a manager or his staff, you do not invite criticism to your door. If this season is going to be turned around, United’s squad would do well to remember those golden rules.

MICAH’S MAN OF THE WEEK 

There is always a game when a big-money signing shows he deserves to be at a top club and Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate had his at the San Siro against Inter Milan.

He didn’t put a foot wrong and his performance suggested he could be the real deal. He has had to bide his time, given Joel Matip’s outstanding form, but Konate played with real maturity and will have plenty more opportunities in the future.

I hope that this also applies to Joe Gomez. Patience will be key for him and I hold him in the highest regard.

Ibrahima Konate produced an excellent performance in Liverpool's win against Inter Milan

Ibrahima Konate produced an excellent performance in Liverpool’s win against Inter Milan

BREATHTAKING CITY LOOK UTTERLY FORMIDABLE

I am always positive about Manchester City but my breath was taken away by their five-star performance against Sporting Lisbon. Admittedly, it was a surprise to see Sporting try to go toe-to-toe with City, even when they were 2-0 down, but the quality that beat them was outstanding.

Normally when a team hits form, three or four players are in the groove but at least seven of City’s squad have hit their stride of late: Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez. It’s a formidable prospect for anyone and there is no reason why they cannot make the Champions League final again.

Manchester City were excellent as they dispatched of Sporting Lisbon with a 5-0 victory

Manchester City were excellent as they dispatched of Sporting Lisbon with a 5-0 victory

WOLVES ARE SNARLING AGAIN 

At the beginning of the season it felt like a lot of people were ready to write off Wolves, given the way their results spiralled last year. I was never in that camp and was adamant that the return of Raul Jimenez would be transformative.

Losing him last year was as big as Liverpool losing Virgil van Dijk, but now that Wolves have got their focal point back they are making strides again.

All credit to Bruno Lage, who has masterminded what looks like a push for Europe.

A word, too, for Conor Coady, who epitomises what a captain should be. He is a top professional and is playing so well.

Raul Jimenez has played a significant part in helping Wolves to get back to their best

Raul Jimenez has played a significant part in helping Wolves to get back to their best



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