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Man United’s dismal season ends with shocking revelations on player attitudes

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Manchester United’s dismal season is complete.

Man United’s 2021/22 season is now complete and it’s one that supporters will never want to hear mentioned again.

The Red Devils finished the campaign with their lowest points total since the 1989/90 season, their most goals conceded since 1978/79, and a place in next year’s Europa League, after they somehow finished as high as sixth in the Premier League table.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was replaced by Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis in December, but a level of performance that was already bad arguably got worse before the season was completed, despite a handful of Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired wins.

It’s no secret that the mood at Old Trafford has been grim, but the extent of this has been put into sharp focus by a couple of reporters on the Man United beat, after the season finished with a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

 

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Man United players received “no instructions.”

Samuel Luckhurst, Manchester United correspondent with the Manchester Evening News, has produced a long-read which points to disharmony within the camp under the management of Rangnick, or ‘Specs’ as one player reportedly refers to the German coach.

In the article, it is claimed that forwards Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford received ‘no instructions, no game plan, no position plan’ ahead of matches, with a source cited as saying “they didn’t have a f—–g clue what they were doing.”

Another player “complained Rangnick ‘talked to him like a child’ and ‘did not give a s—e’ about Rangnick’s advice,” while some found the amount of playing time handed to Anthony Elanga as “mind-boggling.”

Luckhurst also claims that one player barely celebrated after scoring a goal this season, and became “incensed” when encouraged by a teammate to smile toward a camera.

Amid the dismal run of results, a senior players’ meeting was held in February without club captain Harry Maguire, something Paul Pogba, who was present, later apologised for as he didn’t wish to undermine the manager.

Cristiano Ronaldo.

This claim is backed up in another piece by Laurie Whitwell, the Manchester United correspondent in The Athletic.

He writes that ‘Rangnick was uncomfortable that captain Harry Maguire was not included and ended discussions relatively early. Maguire’s confidence as leader has appeared shaken this season and reports questioning who should wear the armband permeated the dressing room.’

Whitwell also reports that Rangnick needed to be careful about dropping Ronaldo, even if he didn’t find the Portuguese forward to be suited to the style of play he wanted to implement.

‘Ronaldo left Carrington annoyed at the prospect of being left out of a European game, telling team-mates he should either start or rest totally because sitting on the bench for three hours in the cold would be detrimental to him,’ it is claimed, after he was told that he wouldn’t be featuring in December’s dead rubber Champions League group stage game against Young Boys.

Man United players laughing on the bench.

It would also appear that the humour found in United’s plight wasn’t limited to rival supporters, as ‘some of the substitutes chuckled at the performance’ during the 1-1 draw away to Newcastle back in December.

Both pieces are filled with various other revelations, which would explain why incoming manager Erik ten Hag is keen to have a clear-out of the club’s broken squad this summer.

It seems likely that both Pogba and Lingard will leave the club, while reports have suggested that Ronaldo is more likely to stay.

As well as sorting out the existing dressing room, the Dutch coach will need to ensure that any new signings will have the right character to take United forward.

Whatever happens, it’s a huge job ahead for the 52-year-old former Ajax manager.

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