Rangnick: atmosphere at Manchester United better without ‘unhappy’ players

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Ralf Rangnick has admitted the atmosphere at Manchester United is better after “unhappy players” left in last month’s transfer window.

In January the first-team squad members Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek and Amad Diallo made loan moves. Rangnick, who did not speak of anyone by name, said: “There were players unhappy, the squad was too big, players realised they wouldn’t get game time and the atmosphere is better than it used to be a couple of weeks ago. Now, for us it’s about performing well, showing togetherness on the pitch, winning games and those are the things we can influence.”

The interim manager stated that Harry Maguire, whose form has drawn criticism, would remain the captain. “Harry is our captain and will stay our captain until the end of the season,” Rangnick said.

United are in fourth place, two points ahead of West Ham, and travel to Leeds on Sunday before Wednesday’s trip to Atlético Madrid for the Champions League last-16 first leg. Rangnick said he was not prioritising either competition.

“We are fully aware the Leeds game is an important one for us, to stay where we are in the table,” he said. “But we have an important one at Atlético Madrid in a competition [where] we would like to proceed to the next round and then we have Watford [in the league].

“We take these one by one and I am grateful we have more players available again. Nemanja Matic is back, is maybe even available for Leeds – but certainly for the next two games after.”

Edinson Cavani remains out with groin and stomach problems.

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