Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick has urged his team not to let Mason Greenwood’s arrest and suspension distract them from their on-field responsibilities
Ralf Rangnick has called on his Manchester United players not to let Mason Greenwood’s arrest and suspension derail their season.
United striker Greenwood has been bailed, pending further investigation, following his arrest on suspicion of rape, assault, sexual assault and threats to kill.
The 20-year-old striker spent three nights in police custody before his release, with United since reiterating he will not train or play for them “until further notice”.
But with so much still to play for this season, including the FA Cup, Champions League and a top-four place, Rangnick has urged his squad not to let the issue distract them.
United host Middlesbrough on Friday night in the FA Cup, the competition that represents their best chance of ending their five-year wait to lift a trophy.
To stay on course for success, Rangnick is acutely aware of the need for unity against the backdrop of what has happened with Greenwood.
“To be honest, I didn’t speak that much with the current players about what happened,” said Rangnick.
“I’m pretty sure that they did. Obviously, we had internal discussions, but I’m pretty sure everyone will understand those internal discussions should stay internal.
“It’s an unusual situation for everybody and nobody would want to experience that.
“Obviously it was a topic within the team, but they’re human beings and Mason was part of the group before we had our break.
“It’s an ongoing process and we have to put our focus on tomorrow’s game and then Tuesday’s game at Burnley. This is all I can say.
“Obviously, everybody would have wanted those things not to happen, but they did and this is what it’s all about, in life, not only in professional football.
“You have to stay together and be united on that and still keep going.
“We have won the last two games in the Premier League and now we want to be successful and proceed to the next round in the FA Cup.
“Then, on Tuesday, hopefully be ready for another three points away at Burnley.”
Friday’s fourth round tie will see the return of Paul Pogba, who has not played since November 2 after suffering a groin injury while on international duty with France.
Pogba is out of contract at the end of this season, but Rangnick said the 29-year-old midfielder could start against Boro, despite his lengthy spell out.
“I’m happy to have him back in the squad and he might be playing from the start,” said Rangnick.
“I see his best possible position as one of central midfield positions, as either an eight or a No.10.
“But the way we’re currently playing, I’d rather see him in the eight position, but we’ll have to see.
“It’s up to him now his contract is expiring in the summer and if, in the end, he would like to stay or go somewhere else he has to show up.
“It’s not only in the interest of us as a club, but it’s in his personal interest that he plays and performs at the highest possible level.
“Let’s wait and see. I’ll be excited myself to see how Paul is doing and, like all the other players, for me he is now a new player.
“He can show me, the team, the fans and everyone in England how good he is and at what high level he can play.”
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