Manchester United's Rashford plays down talk of rift in dressing room

ElephantNewsNetwork2周前Football279
Manchester United's Rashford plays down talk of rift in dressing room

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford said on Saturday he was disappointed with media reports questioning the players' commitment to manager Ralf Rangnick following a difficult start to the German's reign at Old Trafford.

A number of United players are reportedly unhappy with Rangnick's methods, with the interim boss saying on Friday that he was aware that several fringe players were keen to leave the club this month.

"We've all been disappointed with recent performances and we've been as disappointed with the news coverage questioning our commitment to not only the manager and the coaching staff but the club," Rashford said in a statement on Twitter.

"I have endless respect for both and I'm looking forward to bettering my game under the staff... I'm not sulking, I'm not unhappy."

The 24-year-old England international came off the bench in the 1-0 league defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, a first loss under Rangnick that left United in seventh place, four points off the Champions League places but with a game in hand.

Rashford said that he was not satisfied with some of his recent performances but added that his dedication to the club should never be called into question.

United host Aston Villa in the third round of the FA Cup on Monday.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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“We barely have enough hotel staff available to prepare food,” said an official of a team in the Indian Super League (ISL). Till Saturday morning no player or support staff in that team had tested positive for Covid-19 but many among staff in their hotel have. With players, their families, team staff, hotel staff and coach drivers being in the same tier of the bio-secure bubble created for ISL8, the spurt in positive cases meant that the team has been sent to hard quarantine.

The team is scheduled to play midweek but does not know if the match will go ahead because training has been suspended since its last game. It is not the only one. ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC too haven’t trained for days because of Covid-19 cases. SC East Bengal’s new coach Mario Rivera joined the staff after the 0-1 loss to Jamshedpur FC on Tuesday. Having finished the mandatory 14-day quarantine, the Spaniard is again isolating because the team has been put in a hard quarantine. On Saturday, the phlebotomist assigned to the SC East Bengal by ISL too tested positive and had to be replaced. FC Goa and Odisha FC too have reported Covid-19 cases.

The uncertainty about games and the four-tiered bio-bubble being breached across team hotels in Goa has got players speaking out. FC Goa skipper Edu Bedia has called it an “adulterated competition” after their 1-1 draw against NorthEast United on Friday. It was a game for which FC Goa coach Derrick Pereira said, “we had to rearrange the line-up on our way to the stadium.”

ATK Mohun Bagan’s central defender Tiri tweeted about the stress of living in a bubble. “More time in a bubble? I think it’s not healthy for the mind, nor is it healthy not to train for days and go play the game directly,” he said.

On Thursday, FC Goa president Akshay Tandon had tweeted asking fans to reach out to players and staff. “Send them your love and let them know we are grateful for their contribution during these difficult times,” he had said. In a series of tweets, Tandon spoke about FC Goa players and staff being in isolation for 12 days and that living in bubbles breached by Covid-19 is “much much harder”.

So far, the league has been largely silent. It took them till 11am on Saturday to announce that the day’s fixture, ATKMB-Bengaluru FC, has been postponed.

“Hero Indian Super League (ISL) announces the postponement of the match between ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC scheduled to be played on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at PJN Stadium, Fatorda,” said the media release.

“Each match is assessed on a number of factors including the ability of the clubs to field a team; the severity of Covid-19 breakout at the club(s); and the ability of the club personnel to safely prepare for and play the match. The health and safety of all personnel in various bubbles remains our priority, and the League & Clubs will continue to monitor the situation and act accordingly.”

Given that neither ATKMB nor Bengaluru FC could “safely prepare” for Saturday’s game as they hadn’t trained—the Kolkata team has been in isolation since last Saturday (January 8) when positive cases led to their game against Odisha FC being deferred and Bengaluru FC hadn’t practised since Thursday—it wasn’t clear why the announcement didn’t come earlier.

Neither was it evident why the match was said to be on schedule during the telecast of Friday’s game between FC Goa and NorthEast United. Or why the league sent out a preview of the game on Thursday after both teams cancelled the coaches’ customary pre-match media duties.

Saturday’s cancellation got midfielder Bedia, who has been with FC Goa since 2017, angry. “Yesterday, we played the game with 9 casualties due to Covid cases. Today, for the second consecutive match another team suspends its game for the same reason. Can someone explain that to me? Adulterated competition,” said Bedia on social media.

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