Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick finds himself battling ‘very low’ morale just four games into the job amid growing concerns about divisions and cliques within the squad.
With a dreadful run of results seeing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked in November, United showed brief promise in Rangnick’s first game in charge against Crystal Palace, during which it appeared that the players were immediately tapping into his philosophy.
But a 1-0 win over Norwich that flattered to deceive and then this week’s dismal 1-1 draw against Newcastle in which United were fortunate not to lose have raised fresh questions.
Ex-United captain Gary Neville openly questioned the attitude of several players against Newcastle in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports and the lack of unity and cohesion in the squad that was evident during Solskjaer’s final months in charge appears to be getting no better.
Despite the arrival of a new manager and coaching staff, which often results in at least a temporary boost - as was the case when Solskjaer was appointed in December 2018 - United continue to look sluggish and Rangnick has a major job on his hands just pulling the squad together.
The Daily Mail writes that the mood at the training ground is understood to be ‘very low’ and there are ‘growing concerns’ about dressing room cliques forming. The latter has been further fuelled by the recent addition of four-seater booths in the training ground canteen, making it possible for small group of players to break off and socialise among themselves.
It is said there are even issues with players struggling to adjust to the timing of Rangnick’s training sessions, which have typically been held later in the day.
The German is also left to deal with the fallout from Solskjaer’s preference to avoid confrontation, with multiple players including Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Jesse Lingard and Eric Bailly unhappy with peripheral roles after previously being given assurances that haven’t rung true.