RALF RANGNICK will remain in support of his struggle center on Harry Maguire and Rafael Varane despite his horror show against Newcastle.
But the Manchester United interim coach has asked his star-studded squad to stand up and be counted – admitting they haven’t made as much progress as he wanted.
The Red Devils put up a disappointing performance at St James’ Park as they drew 1-1 after Edinson Cavani canceled Alan Saint-Maximin’s stunning opener.
Varane returned from a hamstring injury on 30 October – but a struggling Toon offensive with Maguire plagued him.
The French World Cup winner was at fault in the preparation of Saint-Maximin’s goal, while Maguire looked very upset.
But with one doubt left after fellow defender Viktor Lindelof tested positive for Covid, German boss Rangnik is set to give the pair another chance against Burnley tonight.
Rangnik said: “In three months Rafael hasn’t played that much. Yes, he made a mistake before the first goal but other than that I think he was fine.
“He didn’t excel, and the same goes for Harry. He did fine.
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“Our problem was that we allowed too many transitional moments – it’s not just a problem of the centre-back, but of the whole team. It starts in front.
“You can talk about the role of No. 10 in that kind of formation, so I don’t think it makes sense to talk about individual performances of players. We need to get better as a team. “
Rangnik took over on 29 November following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and has since oversaw three games – including two unconvinced 1-0 wins over Crystal Palace and Norwich before a COVID outbreak at the Carrington training ground.
United are currently in the top four with seven points and have two games to go.
Asked if the team has made the desired progress, Rangnik said: “Absolutely not. Every aspiring coach wants to take faster and bigger steps.
“But to do that you need to be able to train. We had to close Carrington for four days and there were eight or nine outfield payers in training. We couldn’t do much.
“In the last three days we were back in full force and the team was looking good.
“So it was actually a little negative surprise against Newcastle the way we played in terms of pace, pace and physicality of the game.”
Cavani was the bright spark with his second-half finish at St James’ Park – and Rangnik can count on Uruguay to deliver the goods once again against Burnley.
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Rangnik explained: “The two days before the Newcastle game I was looking forward to playing Edinson from the start.
“I spoke with him and he didn’t feel comfortable playing from the start because he didn’t know how fit he was.
“After going 1-0 down at half-time against Newcastle it was clear that we need to take more risks and change something – that’s why he came at half-time.”