Ralf Rangnick has strengthened his Manchester United staff by bringing in assistant coach Chris Armas and sports psychologist Sascha Lense.

Interim manager Rangnick has until the end of the season to make his mark at Old Trafford, with scope for two further years as a consultant, after club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in late November.

Former RB Leipzig head coach Rangnick started with a 1-0 home triumph over Crystal Palace on Sunday, becoming the first German boss to win his opening game in the Premier League after five countrymen previously tried and failed.

United technical director Darren Fletcher and coach Kieran McKenna acted as assistants for that victory and Rangnick has now bolstered his backroom staff with new appointments.

Lense has worked alongside Rangnick previously, most recently at RB Leipzig, while United's new boss got to know former New York Red Bulls manager Armas while operating as Red Bull's global head of sport and development.

"It won't be that many [staff coming in]," Rangnick told a news conference on Tuesday. "So far I'm very happy to work with the staff I have met last week, and they gave me a lot of help in the last couple of days in preparation for the Crystal Palace game.

"We have decided to bring in a sports psychologist, with Sascha Lense. He's from Germany, he's a former second division player.

"I worked with him for three years at Leipzig, in the year I won promotion from the second to the first division myself and the following two years when Ralph Hasenhuttl was head coach and Zsolt Low – the current assistant coach of Thomas Tuchel [at Chelsea] – was assistant coach.

"I will also have one other assistant coach, with Chris Armas. Chris used to be the assistant coach at the New York Red Bulls under Jesse Marsch. That was five years ago, when I first met him. Since then, we have met quite frequently."

With United's spot in the next round of the Champions League already confirmed, Rangnick has hinted at heavy rotation for Wednesday's home clash with Young Boys, who have not won away in the Champions League or European Cup since August 1960.

The 63-year-old Rangnick confirmed that Donny van de Beek and Dean Henderson will start and told the club's official website that Nemanja Matic will captain the side.

Nemanja Matic says Manchester United supporters "deserve much, much better" from their side following Saturday's bruising 4-2 loss against Leicester City.

United conceded four times in a Premier League match for the first time since April 2019 as their English record of 29 successive away league games unbeaten came to an end at the King Power Stadium.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have collected only one point from the last nine on offer and are fifth in the table after eight matches, five points adrift of leaders Chelsea, with Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City up next.

Matic played 80 minutes of the defeat to Leicester and remains confident United can still challenge for the title, but the former Serbia international accepts a vast improvement is needed heading into a tough run of games.

"We are sorry for [the supporters]," he told United's official website. "They support us, especially away and they are top. They deserve much, much better than this.

"We will do our best to make them happy in the future. But we have 14 points – we are still in the title race. We don't want to give up until the end."

United have now lost three successive games against Leicester in all competitions for the first time since November 1901, having also been defeated 2-1 in their most recent league meeting prior to Saturday and 3-1 in last term's FA Cup quarter-final.

In a thrilling encounter at the King Power Stadium, Youri Tielemans and Caglar Soyuncu put Leicester ahead after Mason Greenwood had opened the scoring with a spectacular opener.

Marcus Rashford equalised for United on his first appearance since the Euro 2020 final, but Jamie Vardy restored City's lead just 54 seconds later and Patson Daka bundled in a fourth in stoppage time to seal the points.

In doing so, Daka became the first Zambian player to score in the Premier League, making it 105 different nationalities to have now netted in the competition.

Matic, who has appeared eight times for United in all competitions this season, had no complaints about the scoreline and called for unity.

The defeat and recent form means pressure is inevitably building on boss Solskjaer.

"They created a lot of chances. So we have to be honest; we have to say that they deserved to win," Matic said. "One minute after scoring [to make it 2-2] we conceded the third goal. Of course, the frustration was there.

"But sometimes you have to say when the opponent was better, and to see where we can improve, what we have to do better. I'm sure our team is much better than this."

Matic, who has emerged as a rumoured transfer target for Barcelona, added: "Everyone is sad, everyone is with their head down at the moment. But when you play for Man United, if you don't win the game of course you are disappointed, but we have to stick together."

Atalanta in the Champions League is the next test for United. Ahead of that game on Wednesday, Matic said: "It's also going to be hard. We are very disappointed, but I think that, in the future, we will show we are much better than this.

"Every next game is the most important; every next game is a new challenge, an opportunity to show your qualities. We're going to take responsibility; we're going to step up and see what we can do. I'm sure that we can do a lot."

The race is on to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland, who might be set to make a move in mid-2022.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are all interested in the Norwegian goal machine, but could Newcastle United also be a factor?.

Haaland netted 41 goals from 41 games last term for Dortmund and already has 13 this season.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE ENTER HAALAND RACE

Newcastle are the latest club to enter the race to sign Borussia Dortmund's Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, reports AS.

The report claims Real Madrid are losing their grip as favourites to sign Haaland, with Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and now Newcastle potentially in contention.

The Magpies' move is said to be "not out of the question" following the club's takeover by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund who appear set to make a splash in the transfer market in January. 

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- Mohamed Salah's agent has arrived in England for contract talks with Liverpool over a £500k-per-week deal, according to the Mirror.

- ESPN reports that Premier League trio Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool are tracking Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, rivalling Real Madrid. United's interest is said to be based around whether Paul Pogba departs.

- Dusan Vlahovic will follow Federico Chiesa's lead and reject a new Fiorentina contract offer in favour of a move to Juventus, ignoring Premier League interest from Tottenham and Liverpool, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Barcelona are interested in Manchester United's Nemanja Matic, claims The Sun. The Serbian has a little over 18 months remaining on his United deal so Barca believe they could sign him next off-season on a cut-price deal.

- Goal Germany reports that Bayern Munich are making a move to sign Salzburg talent Karim Adeyemi, with the player's agent and father reportedly holding talks with the Bavarian club on Saturday.

Paul Pogba felt Manchester United deserved their 4-2 defeat at Leicester City and claimed the Red Devils have a long-standing "problem" they must resolve in terms of performances.

United's English football league record of 29 consecutive away games unbeaten came to an emphatic end at the King Power Stadium, where they conceded four times in a Premier League match on the road for the first time since April 2019 at Everton.

Mason Greenwood's spectacular opener was cancelled out by Youri Tielemans, and Caglar Soyuncu put Leicester ahead with 12 minutes remaining.

In a frantic finale, Marcus Rashford equalised on his first appearance of the season only for Jamie Vardy to make it 3-2 just 54 seconds later, with the Foxes restoring their advantage straight from kick-off.

Patson Daka bundled in a fourth in injury time as Leicester made it three wins in a row against United in all competitions for the first time in 120 years.

With four defeats and only two wins from their previous seven games this season, United are in worrying form ahead of a run of fixtures that includes matches against Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, as well as Champions League clashes with Atalanta and Villarreal.

Pogba is concerned that such results are only likely to continue unless something changes.

"To be honest, you know, we've been having those kinds of games for a long time and we haven't found the problem," he said after the match.

"We need to find the problem. To concede goals, easy goals, stupid goals, when we know those games you play on this pitch [are ones where] the fans are going to push, put pressure on us.

"We need to be more mature, I think. We need to play with more experience, arrogance, in a good way. We have to take the ball and play our football.

"Now, we have to find the key to this change and this game. I think we deserved to lose today.

"We need to find something, we need to change something. I don't know if the mindset of all of us, the players, when we start... we really don't know. It's frustrating because it's something we don't understand and we have to find that very fast because if you want to compete and you want to win the title, those games you have to win, even though they are very hard and we're playing away.

"You need to fight their game, you need to find the right mentality, the right tactic to win those games. That's my thought. We have time to think about it and then all together, we have to stick together and find the problem."

Midfielder Nemanja Matic admitted the squad was feeling particularly downbeat but promised performances would improve.

"Of course, we are disappointed. Everyone is sad, everyone is a bit head-down at the moment," he told MUTV.

"But we have to stick together. It's time to stick together, analyse this game as soon as possible and then think about the next in three, four days against a very good side in Atalanta.

"We are very disappointed but, in the future, I think we will show that we are much better than this."

Jose Mourinho is already plotting his moves in his first transfer window at Roma, where he will take charge at the end of the season.

The Portuguese reportedly is hoping to bring players he already knows to Serie A.

Could a pair of Red Devils and Spurs be headed to the Italian capital? 

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO EYES FAMILIAR FACES

Jose Mourinho may turn to his Premier League connections to bolster his first Roma side. 

Manchester United pair Nemanja Matic and David de Gea are among the players with Old Trafford legacies on Mourinho's wish list, according to the Daily Mirror and Todofichajes. 

Among more recent Mourinho pupils, Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are among the Spurs players who stand as possibilities, says Corriere dello Sport. 

Football London also linked Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura with possible Roma moves as former Tottenham head coach Mourinho prepares to replace Paulo Fonseca ahead of the 2021-22 season.

 

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- Corriere dello Sport reports Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are eyeing Napoli star Fabian Ruiz and Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Spain international Fabian has been heavily linked with Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Fellow midfielder Milinkovic-Savic, meanwhile, continues to be linked with the likes of Inter, Juventus, United and PSG.

Yves Bissouma could be headed to Manchester City as a replacement for Fernandinho, the Daily Star claims. City are said to be confident they can strike a £30million deal for the 24-year-old Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder. The Daily Express, however, has Arsenal leading the fight for the Mali international, with TottenhamWest Ham and Everton also potential landing spots. 

Chelsea may bring back striker Armando Broja on a lucrative contract after loaning the 19-year-old to Eredivisie outfit Vitesse Arnhem this term, Fabrizio Romano says, but other big clubs are circling as well.

- Juventus centre-back Giorgio Chiellini is considering a move to MLS after his contract ends in June, Calciomercato reports. 

Miralem Pjanic could leave Barcelona as Sport claims the midfield outcast attracts interest from the likes of Chelsea and Inter

- Barca are considering the idea of allowing Francisco Trincao to leave on loan amid interest from Milan and Roma, according to Calciomercato. 

- RMC Sport says Milan have reached an agreement in principle to sign Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan at the end of the season. It comes amid doubts over the future of star Gianluigi Donnarumma, who is set to become a free agent. Yet to renew, Donnarumma has been linked with Juve, Tottenham, Chelsea and United.

Real Madrid and Kylian Mbappe – the two parties have long been tipped to come together.

Mbappe is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain in 2022 and no closer to renewing his deal.

Madrid are reportedly moving closer to prising the France international to the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE POISED FOR MADRID MOVE?

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is edging closer to joining LaLiga giants Real Madrid, according to Diario AS.

Mbappe has long been tipped to swap PSG for Madrid, though the Ligue 1 holds continue to try to re-sign the World Cup-winning forward.

PSG's Mbappe is determined to win the Champions League as he eyes the Santiago Bernabeu.


 

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- Le Parisien, though, claims PSG are holding out hope on teaming Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi with Mbappe and Neymar in Paris. Messi is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and he has been linked with PSG and Manchester City. Neymar has also been linked with a Barca return. However, Le Parisien reports PSG are prioritising a move for Messi while trying to retain Neymar and Mbappe.

Lautaro Martinez is on the verge of signing a new contract with Serie A champions Inter, says Gazzetta dello Sport. The Inter forward has been linked with Barca previously.

- Tuttosport reports star Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is a primary transfer target for Serie A rivals Juventus. Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season and the Italy international has not agreed fresh terms with Milan.

Borussia Dortmund will ask for less than €100million (£86m) to sell Jadon Sancho amid interest from United, Chelsea and Liverpool, says Fabrizio Romano.

- The Mirror says Liverpool are eyeing Roma star Lorenzo Pellegrini as incoming Giallorossi boss Jose Mourinho looks to overhaul the squad in the Italian capital. The front page of Thursday's Gazzetto dello Sport, meanwhile, claims Mourinho is looking to bring Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic and Madrid's Isco to Roma.

- Soon-to-be free agent and City star Sergio Aguero is dreaming of a Barcelona move, according to Romano. InterTottenham and Chelsea have also emerged as options for the veteran forward.

Maurizio Sarri is a candidate to take charge of Milan if Stefano Pioli fails to guide the Rossoneri into the Champions League, claims Gazzetta dello Sport. Sarri was reportedly set to join Roma before Mourinho's appointment.

- Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, Sassuolo's Manuel Locatelli and Mikel Merino of Real Sociedad are on Barca's shortlist to replace Sergio Busquets, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Manchester United will go all guns blazing into a pivotal week in their season as they pursue silverware, says Nemanja Matic.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side head to Milan for the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday, with an FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City at the weekend.

With the Premier League title surely heading across Manchester to City's Etihad Stadium, United's hopes of success hinge on how they fare over these two crunch clashes.

A 1-1 draw at Old Trafford left their European fate hanging in the balance, but Matic insists they will look to get on the front foot at San Siro.

"We are coming to the end of the season so the quarter-finals and semi-finals are waiting for us," Matic told United's official website.

"We have to show our character, our quality, and we have to show that we are ready to win some titles.

"We will play our football because we are not a team that only defends. We always want to score more goals. I think we will play our football the same way we are always trying. 

"We train every day and we will see. We are ready to compete and we have 90 minutes to show our quality."

Speaking about the challenge facing them against Stefano Pioli's side, Matic underlined his respect for the Serie A high-flyers and revealed he was looking forward to playing at San Siro.

"Now we know more about them. We know the way they play. We have to be wary that they are a top team," he said.

"They play good football, they have a good coach and it's going to be an interesting game. It's going to be hard for us again, but we are confident and we will try to win the game.

"I never had the opportunity to play at the San Siro, this is my first time, so I am looking forward to that. 

"It's an iconic stadium as everyone knows and we are happy that we can go there and compete with them again."

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has been given the all-clear to chase Erling Haaland, while Liverpool are also eyeing a forward.

Borussia Dortmund star Haaland is wanted by numerous European giants, with Manchester City among those reportedly interested.

But Chelsea are also targeting the 20-year-old forward.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA GIVEN ALL-CLEAR TO CHASE HAALAND

Chelsea boss Tuchel has been given the green light to go after Dortmund star Haaland ahead of next season, according to Bild.

Haaland has scored 27 goals in 25 games for Dortmund this season.

Chelsea spent big ahead of 2020-21, but are seemingly eager to land Haaland to strengthen further.

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool are apparently eyeing a forward of their own. Diario Gol reports Jurgen Klopp wants Real Madrid forward Rodrygo.

- After starring for Burnley, Nick Pope is linked with a move. LancsLive reports the Premier League club want around £50million for the goalkeeper, who is said to be a target for Tottenham.

- Manchester United continue to be linked with West Ham midfielder Declan Rice. 90min reports United are willing to offer any of Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Phil Jones to West Ham in their bid to land Rice.

- Staying at Manchester United and the Daily Express reports they may give up on Norwich City right-back Max Aarons due to a £35m asking price.

- With Napoli seventh in Serie A and out of the Europa League after being eliminated by Granada, the pressure is on head coach Gennaro Gattuso. But CalcioMercato reports Gattuso is safe for now despite his side's struggles.

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