Ralf Rangnick has acknowledged that Mason Greenwood’s arrest was discussed by Manchester United players but said the squad had trained well this week.
Greenwood was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of rape and assault and further arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of sexual assault and making threats to kill. The forward was released on bail on Wednesday. He remains under investigation and is suspended from training and playing for United until further notice.
Rangnick, whose team host Middlesbrough in Friday’s fourth-round FA Cup tie, was asked whether this had been a difficult few days because of the situation with Greenwood.
“In fact, we had a normal week of training with five training sessions including today’s training,” the interim manager said. “Obviously it was a topic within the team but they’re human beings and Mason was part of the group before we had our [winter] break. We are looking forward to the game tomorrow.”
Rangnick said that Jesse Lingard staying rather than leaving on loan was due partly to Greenwood’s unavailability. “In a way, yes,” he said. “We had a problem with Mason Greenwood and being without a player for the time being who has played in [recent] weeks and, together with the club not finding an agreement with another club [for Lingard], this is why he stayed. Three weeks ago Jesse didn’t want to leave, then changed his mind.”
Lingard, who is unhappy at not going on loan, has requested time off. “Jesse asked if we could give him a couple of days to clear his mind,” Rangnick said. “He will be back in training on Monday and part of the squad.”
Paul Pogba may start against Middlesbrough after recovering from a calf injury that has ruled out the midfielder for three months. “He might be in the XI,” said Rangnick. “Edi Cavani will only return at the weekend. He asked to have two more days at home – I knew he couldn’t be in the XI with jet lag [after playing for Uruguay]. Victor Lindelöf has been ill the whole week and not training. Eric Bailly came back yesterday, he has some problems with his ankle and will not be part of the squad. Luke [Shaw] will play because Alex Telles played 90 minutes for Brazil. ”
Rangnick was asked about his future as reports continue to suggest Paris Saint-Germain’s Mauricio Pochettino is the favourite to be recruited for the United manager’s job in the summer.
“I have no idea,” he said. “My full focus is on training the group right now. We have games coming up in three different competitions.”
United have confirmed that fans can exchange a shirt with Greenwood’s name on the back for a replacement with a different player’s name. – Guardian