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Man Utd boss Ralf Rangnick plays down suggestions of rift with Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard File Photo
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick has played down suggestions of a rift between him and Jesse Lingard.

The pair contradicted each other last week as they gave differing reasons for the player’s absence for Friday’s FA Cup loss to Middlesbrough.

Rangnick had said Lingard requested some time off to “clear up his mind” after the club refused him a loan move prior to last week’s transfer deadline.

Rangnick and Lingard gave contradictory reasons for the player's absence against Middlesbrough

Rangnick and Lingard gave contradictory reasons for the player’s absence against Middlesbrough (Mike Egerton/PA)

Lingard, on the other hand, said via social media that it was the club who told him to take some time out.

Rangnick tried to clear up the confusion as he spoke to media ahead of fourth-placed United’s Premier League trip to Burnley on Tuesday.

The German said: “With regard to Jesse, I have a very good relationship with him.

“He knows that I would have been willing to let him go, at least until the issue with Mason (Greenwood) came up and all the other things I think we have spoken about.

“He mentioned some personal issues but, again, we have to look forward now. There were no problems whatsoever between myself and Jesse and vice versa.

“I’m happy to have him in the squad and, as I said, he will be a member of the squad for tomorrow’s game.”

Edinson Cavani also missed the Boro clash

Edinson Cavani also missed the Boro clash (Martin Rickett/PA)

Striker Edinson Cavani will also be available after the Uruguay international sat out the Boro clash – which United lost on penalties – at his own request following his return from international duty.

Rangnick said: “They’re both available and they will both be part of the squad for tomorrow’s game at Burnley. Both are top professionals, both have been training well.”

Two players who will not be involved are Brazilian pair Fred and Alex Telles after Rangnick confirmed both had tested positive for coronavirus.

Telles missed the Middlesbrough game as he went into isolation last week, while Fred’s positive test on Monday also makes him doubtful for Saturday’s clash with Southampton.

Midfielder Fred has tested positive for Covid-19

Midfielder Fred has tested positive for Covid-19 (Martin Rickett/PA)

“Alex Telles already missed the cup game because he tested Covid positive last week and, unfortunately, the same thing happened today with Fred,” said Rangnick, who added that defender Raphael Varane should be fit after a knock sustained late in the game on Friday.

Despite the frustrating nature of the loss to Championship Boro, Rangnick is convinced there were plenty of positives to take from the game.

He said: “Apart from playing together as a team in defence and improving and developing our defensive work together, we also invested some time in our offensive principles.

“I think we showed that both in the game against West Ham and, even more so, in the game against Middlesbrough, where we created numerous chances.

“I think we probably had 30 shots on goal and 22 of them from inside the box. In the end it didn’t lead to the result that we wanted to get but at least we dominated the game in most parts.”

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