Ralf Rangnick refused to be drawn on reports Manchester United are set to appoint Erik ten Hag as manager, but confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo would return for Saturday’s Premier League match at Everton.
United are reportedly close to finalizing the appointment of their new manager, with Ajax boss Ten Hag expected to be the club’s chosen candidate.
Sources from Ajax and the Dutchman’s camp have told Sky Sports News talks over compensation and how to handle a formal announcement had taken place, after he impressed in his interview.
United denied having official discussions, calling such an advanced reading of the situation “premature”, and interim boss Rangnick declined to comment on reports regarding his potential successor.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s match against Everton, Rangnick said on Friday: “This is the press conference for tomorrow’s game. I don’t intend to speak about any possible new managers.
“From what I know, all the managers the club has so far spoken to are top managers, top coaches. If this includes Erik ten Hag, it is also true with him. That is all I can say at this stage.”
Asked whether he was consulted during the club’s pursuit of a new manager, Rangnick added: “I know which coaches they have spoken to so far and can say they are top coaches.”
Ronaldo back for Goodison trip
United head to Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime looking to resurrect their top-four challenge after losing further ground in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Leicester at Old Trafford.
Rangnick confirmed Ronaldo, who missed the game with Leicester due to illness, was available for Saturday’s trip to Merseyside, but revealed United would be without several others.
“Cristiano is back again,” he added. “Luke (Shaw) is still injured. We had to take him off at half-time [against Leicester]. He’s having problems with his leg he had an operation on back in 2015.
“The doctor told me they decided to remove two metal bolts from his legs, this will happen tomorrow. That means he will be out for the next two or three weeks.
“(Edinson) Cavani is still injured. Raphael Varane is still injured and will miss out tomorrow. The same is true with Scott McTominay, I’m afraid, he’s having problems with the sole of his foot, so those four players will be missing . “
Rangnick: Still a chance to top-four finish
With seventh-placed United sitting three points adrift of Tottenham in fourth, Rangnick is adamant there is still a chance of sealing Champions League qualification but insists there is no room for maneuver.
“If we look at the current situation in the table, we cannot afford to drop points anymore,” he added. “Everybody in the team is aware of that.”
He continued: “We still have a chance to qualify for the Champions League but in order to do that we definitely need to win the game tomorrow.
“We are all aware of the importance of the game for both sides, it’s highly important for them and us as well. Character, energy, commitment to winning that game in that atmosphere are probably the most important qualities.
“For me, game plan and tactics are one thing tomorrow, but the most important is mentality, attitude, physicality, this will probably decide the game.”
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