Ralf Rangnick is unhappy with the rescheduling of Manchester United’s match against Chelsea for Thursday week, with the club raising the issue with the Premier League.
The Premier League fixture had to be moved from 15 May as Chelsea are in the FA Cup final which is that day. With United at Liverpool on Tuesday, Arsenal on Saturday and now hosting Chelsea on 28 April, they have three of their final six matches in nine days as they try to finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League. United are fifth, three points behind Tottenham.
Rangnick has five players injured. While Luke Shaw may not return this season, Scott McTominay, Fred, Raphael Varane and Edinson Cavani are unavailable for Liverpool and the German is concerned that one or more may not return in time for the rearranged Chelsea match.
He is also unsure why the game cannot be played sometime in the 15-day window United now have between their penultimate match at Brighton and the season’s closing fixture, away at Crystal Palace. Rebecca Britain, United’s club secretary, is expected to write to the Premier League regarding the matter.
Liverpool are a point behind Manchester City as Jürgen Klopp’s team challenge for a second championship in two years, following a 30-year wait since the club’s previous one. At the close of the campaign it will be nine years since United were last champions yet Rangnick denied the span could stretch to as long as three decades.
“Without a title? I suppose this will not happen because it is pretty obvious what needs to change. There needs to be a rebuild for the futures so I don’t think this will happen,” he said.
In the reverse fixture in October, United endured a 5-0 humiliation but Rangnick brushed aside any fear of a repeat on Tuesday. “For us it is about showing that commitment on the pitch,” he said.
“We need to be aggressive, although there might be a lot of defensive work tomorrow, we still need to be proactive, just sitting back and keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t concede any goals is not enough against a team like Liverpool.
“We need to have the best possible balance of being defensively organized but still being proactively aggressive and whenever there is a chance to create moments ourselves, be it in transitional moments or in possession.”
Bruno Fernandes is expected to feature against Liverpool despite being involved in a car crash on his way to training on Monday. Rangnick confirmed that the 27-year-old midfielder had trained with the squad after the accident, with no parties involved understood to have sustained serious injuries.
“Yes, he was training with the team,” Rangnick said at his press conference on Monday. “Obviously the accident happened on the way to Carrington. As far as I know, no one was injured. He was OK and he’ll be OK for tomorrow.”
Fernandes has scored nine goals and provided six assists in 30 league appearances for United this season.