Manchester United must beat Man City with a top-four spot in the balance, and Ralf Rangnick has hinted such results will determine contracts and player exits
Ralf Rangnick is aiming to hit Manchester City with the perfect storm.
The Manchester United boss knows his team will have to be at the peak of their powers to emerge from the 187th derby with a victory.
And Rangnick’s warning that they are also playing for their futures as well as three points to give United’s bid for the top four a huge lift, should motivate his players even further.
Rangnick said: “Players should know they have to perform to play or even for a new contract or to be kept in the club.
“That should be the case all the time in professional football.
“That might be a bit simplistic, but for us it’s about getting the best out of this current squad.
“I can assure you the atmosphere in the locker room, the focus in training, we have no issues.
“All that about outside noises, about players not being focused in training, is not correct.
“They get on well with each other, they have a full focus in every session.
“It’s all about getting the best possible result in the coming games.”
United’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of City in Old Trafford in November was a chastening experience coming on the back of a 5-0 home thrashing by Liverpool.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked at the end of that month and Rangnick was brought in as interim boss with the task of finishing in the top four.
United have lost just one of 13 Premier League games under Rangnick.
But despite the individual quality of players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, the German has told his team that only a collective effort will give them a chance at the Etihad.
Rangnick said: “When City won 2-0 at Old Trafford they did it in style and it could have been a higher margin.
“Now, for us, it is about confirming the development of the team in the last three months.
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“We have been unbeaten in the last 11 games and we haven’t lost a single away game since I arrived.
“We know this will be the biggest challenge so far because we haven’t played against a team of that kind of quality.”
He added: “We have to be as compact as we can be and play as much as a team as we can.
“It will be challenging for us. We will have moments in the game when we have to chase the ball and be without it for one or two minutes.
“But this shouldn’t happen all the time. It’s about being on the front foot, being courageous, and creating moments when we can put them under pressure.
“We need to perform at the highest possible level – and I have no doubt we have players who can do that. But obviously it’s about showing it on the pitch.”