Manchester United are in negotiations with rival clubs in a bid to find solutions for their wantaway stars, Ralf Rangnick has confirmed.

There are a number of high-profile players on the fringes of United's expensively assembled squad who might be interested in a move before the January transfer window closes.

Reports suggest Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek are among those who might hope to leave before the end of the month.

Lingard is a target for Newcastle United, Rangnick revealed prior to Saturday's win over West Ham, while Sevilla are said to hold an interest in Martial, and Van de Beek – formerly a top performer at Ajax – would surely have suitors.

It had previously been suggested the Red Devils would be reluctant to reduce the size of their squad due to the risk of being left short in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.

But Rangnick's latest comments appear to indicate United will work with those players who see their futures elsewhere.

"I don't know [what's going to happen]," the interim manager said. "I know which players would want to leave.

"I know that there are some negotiations with clubs but I am not involved in that. I will probably be posted and made aware if something is happening. We will all have to wait and see what happens."

Lingard and Martial have found themselves further down the pecking order as the season has worn on.

With teenager Anthony Elanga coming into the side, even Marcus Rashford has had to settle for a role on the bench, scoring as a substitute in United's past two matches.

"We have a lot of wingers and outstanding players in that position," Rangnick. "Jadon [Sancho] was not available [against West Ham], but we have a lot of players for those two positions, and Marcus is one of them.

"Right now, yes, he scored twice in two consecutive games when he came from the bench, but of course his ambition is to play regularly from the start.

"And if he continuously plays on a high level and scores goals, of course this is the best way back in the team and to play from the beginning."

Ralf Rangnick admitted he took a punt that paid off after Manchester United's super-subs combined for a priceless winner against West Ham.

United's German interim boss sent on forwards Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial to join Cristiano Ronaldo in attack, and that quartet conjured a dramatic goal three minutes into stoppage time.

Rashford tucked in from close range after Ronaldo fed Martial, who relayed the ball to Cavani, with the Uruguayan narrowly beating the offside line before delivering the perfect low cross.

After huffing and puffing without reward until that point, United could celebrate and the Old Trafford crowd was jubilant as the home side pinched a 1-0 win that lifts them to fourth place, at least for a short while, in the Premier League. Arsenal and Tottenham have the chance to jump ahead of United on Sunday.

United have scored eight goals via substitutes in the Premier League this season, said Opta, more than any other team. Old habits die hard.

Rashford's goal also meant that for the second time this season, West Ham were denied a point by a late United winner from a substitute, with Jesse Lingard's 89th-minute effort having decided the London Stadium tussle between the teams in September.

On that previous occasion, West Ham were thrown a lifeline when Luke Shaw handled and they were awarded a penalty, only for more substitute drama to follow. Mark Noble was sent from the bench to take the spot-kick, but the specialist missed.

This time, the goal came too late for any similar drama to follow.

"It couldn't have been better than that, if you score in the last second of the game. It was amazing," Rangnick told MUTV.

"Enormous important win and physically a great performance.

"I'm extremely happy for the boys. They did it, and we had to take some risks in the last 15 minutes.

"We played almost with four strikers in a 4-2-4, but we knew we had to win that game and that's why we decided to take that risk."

Rashford has been directly involved in more goals against West Ham in all competitions than he has against any other side at club level (eight – four goals, four assists).

He has hit four winners in the 90th minute or stoppage time in his United career, which is twice as many as any other Red Devils player in the Premier League era.

United have now won 21 of their 26 Premier League home games against West Ham (D3 L2) and are unbeaten in their last 14 against them at Old Trafford since a 1-0 loss in May 2007.

Another notable detail is that Saturday's hosts have only lost once in their last 10 Premier League games (W6 D3). This was their first clean sheet in the competition in six matches, another plus for Rangnick as United rebuild in the post-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer months.

All the positives aside, there were still elements that disappointed Rangnick in United's display, and it had been shaping up as a game to forget before the late twist.

After a win at Brentford on Wednesday, United looked flat at times against West Ham, who almost snatched the lead before Rashford's intervention when Tomas Soucek headed just wide.

"We didn't always find the right solutions in possession of the ball, especially in the final third of the game," Rangnick said. "But the way we played defensively after having played only three days ago at Brentford, I was really impressed by the team.

"I'm still not quite happy the way that we play in possession of the ball, so this will have to be the next step in the next couple of weeks."

Cristiano Ronaldo has emerged as an injury doubt for the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham on Saturday.

The Portugal star played 71 minutes of the 3-1 win at Brentford on Wednesday before being substituted - a decision with which he was clearly annoyed.

Interim manager Ralf Rangnick insisted he had no problem with the player becoming frustrated at going off and that it would not affect his chances of facing the Hammers at Old Trafford.

However, Rangnick later confirmed Ronaldo suffered a neck injury during the victory over Brentford that could keep him out of the game.

"Cristiano is a question mark because he has a problem with his neck," he said to MUTV on Friday.

"He received treatment yesterday [Thursday] for two, three hours and we will have to wait to see how he feels today."

Edinson Cavani missed the match at Brentford Community Stadium and he too is facing a race to be fit for the visit of David Moyes' men.

"Edi hasn't been training with the team yet and will hopefully resume training today and then we'll take the final decision after the training session, [around] if he will be available for the game," Rangnick said.

Losing Ronaldo and Cavani presents United with a possible striker shortage given Anthony Martial is attempting to secure a move away from the club.

Rangnick left Martial out of the 2-2 draw at Aston Villa, saying the France international had told him he did not want to be involved – a claim Martial later disputed.

Jesse Lingard will be available to face the club for whom he excelled on loan last season, while Jadon Sancho, who missed the Brentford match due to a family funeral, could be involved.

"We need to see where Jadon stands," said Rangnick. "He didn't train yesterday. As you know, he attended a funeral on Wednesday and didn't want to train yesterday as he is still affected by that. We will have to see.

"I will see him for training today and speak with him after the training session, to see if he is in the state of mind, and also his energy [is there], so he can be available for tomorrow."

Aaron Wan-Bissaka will also be missing again with illness, while Victor Lindelof will sit out the game after a burglary of his family home, but midfielder Scott McTominay hopes to be involved after battling a back problem.

Victor Lindelof will miss Manchester United's clash with West Ham as he wants to stay with his family after his house was broken into on Wednesday.

Lindelof started alongside Raphael Varane in a 3-1 win at Brentford, but during the clash in London entered his home while his wife and children hid inside.

The 27-year-old's wife, Maja, revealed on Instagram she locked herself and her two children in a room before the intruders entered the house.

United interim manager Ralf Rangnick confirmed on Friday that the Sweden international will be unavailable for Saturday's Premier League meeting with West Ham as he wants to be with his family.

"I spoke with him at length on our flight back home from London," Rangnick told reporters at his pre-match news conference. 

"Also, we spoke for about 20, 25 minutes this morning. He told me what had actually happened and that this was a traumatic event especially for his wife and three-year-old son.

"He said to me that he right now needs to stay at home. He doesn't want to leave his wife and family on their own, which I can fully understand, being a father of two children myself. 

"We agreed that he will not be training today and won't be available tomorrow for the game."

Jadon Sancho, who was absent for the trip to the Brentford Community Stadium, remains a doubt for the encounte with the Hammers.

The former Borussia Dortmund winger missed the meeting with Thomas Frank's side as he was at a family funeral on the same day. Rangnick remains unsure whether Sancho will available to face West Ham.

"Jadon didn't train because he still asked to be able to not train," he added. "He attended the funeral on Wednesday. It's still affected him quite a lot. He's expected back today at three o'clock. 

"Right now, I'm not sure if he will be available because it was an important member of the family, someone he was close to all his life. We've got to wait and see and speak after training."

The Red Devils will be without Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who remain out injured, so Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles will likely continue at full-back.

United sit seventh in the Premier League, two points behind fourth-placed West Ham with a game in hand.

Ralf Rangnick insisted that his priority will always be with the Manchester United team and not certain individuals amid ongoing questions over Cristiano Ronaldo's behaviour at Brentford.

United sit seventh in the Premier League but are two points behind fourth-placed West Ham with a game in hand after defeating Brentford 3-1 on Wednesday.

Ronaldo played a part in Mason Greenwood's goal, the second for United, at the Brentford Community Stadium but was removed nine minutes later, seemingly much to the Portugal captain's disgust.

The 36-year-old appeared annoyed as he wandered towards the dugout, where he sat on the steps as he continued to gesture as if he was asking why he had been substituted.

Rangnick, who could be seen having a word in Ronaldo's ear minutes later in an attempt to defuse the situation, said post-match that the commotion did not concern him, a stance he once again reiterated on Friday.

"I think we shouldn't make too much of a fuss out of it," Rangnick responded when asked about Ronaldo at a pre-match news conference ahead of Saturday's clash with West Ham.

"I can only speak for myself and my coaching staff. I explained that to him during the game, we had a little conversation after we scored the third goal. In fact, I told him the same as what I said in our press conference. 

"The job of a football manager is to help the team win the game and it was clear from our experience at Villa Park that this time we have to do things better. 

"We did it better and the only question was, who do we take off? Of course, Cristiano is a prolific goalscorer and he's a player that will always want to play and score goals. 

"The team is more important than whoever – Cristiano, Edinson [Cavani], Bruno [Fernandes].

"He was also asking why me 'why didn't you take off one of the younger players?'. The answer came five minutes later when one of the younger players scored the third goal. 

"Maybe Cristiano could have also scored the third goal, but football is not about maybe, it is about taking a decision in the right moment."

Asked for further clarification on his decision to send on centre-back Harry Maguire for Ronaldo, Rangnick added: "In a way in football it's a bit like chess, things can change so quickly during the game. 

"If you watched last night's semi-final [between Arsenal and Liverpool] in the EFL Cup things can change from one minute to another.

"In some parts of the game, you are dominating the game, pinning the other team back, and all of sudden it can be different. 

"Therefore it is important to be able to react to what the game needs now, to what the team needs and we had exactly the same decision at Brentford as at Villa, 70 minutes played, 2-0 up against a team who does not give up. 

"For me, it was logical with the negative experience we had at Villa Park to do it differently this time and it was clear we bring on Harry [Maguire] and then defend this 2-0 result and in the end we even scored a third one on the counter-attack and it was clear we were going to win the game."

Ronaldo will likely lead the line again at home to David Moyes' Champions League-chasing Hammers, who the striker has scored seven goals in his last five top-flight appearances against.

West Ham, however, have already won away at Old Trafford this season, winning 1-0 in the EFL Cup. Only three teams have ever won twice away against the Red Devils in the same season – Aston Villa (1919-20), Tottenham Hotspur (1989-90) and Chelsea (2004-05).

Rangnick appreciates he has to take a game at a time at the United helm as he refused to look to far ahead in terms of rebuilding at the club.

"My full focus as I have indicated is to win games with this team, in order to win games as a team we need to develop as a team," he continued.

"We need to improve in some areas, we have done so in the last couple of weeks, but there is still more space for that in vast areas of our game and this is where my focus is. 

"I'm not dealing with what might happen in four or five months, that is not on top of my list.

"It's about how we can win the game against West Ham, then the cup against Middlesbrough and then Burnley, playing Southampton and Brighton [and Hove Albion] at home, this is where my focus is."

Ralf Rangnick was not overly concerned about Cristiano Ronaldo's reaction to being substituted in Manchester United's 3-1 win at Brentford.

United claimed their first Premier League victory of 2022 on Wednesday, with Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford getting the goals before a late Ivan Toney consolation.

The visitors were fortunate to not trail at the break but produced a hugely improved display in the second half, with Ronaldo playing a part in Greenwood's goal as he chested the ball into Bruno Fernandes' path before he squared to the 20-year-old.

Greenwood and Ronaldo were withdrawn nine minutes later, with Rashford and Harry Maguire entering the pitch as Rangnick changed to a back five.

Ronaldo appeared annoyed as he headed off and that displeasure continued to emanate after sitting in the dugout, the striker seen seemingly asking Darren Fletcher why they had chosen to withdraw him.

In the aftermath of Rashford's goal, Rangnick could be seen having a word in Ronaldo's ear, the situation appearing to be defused.

"It's normal, as a striker he wants to score goals," Rangnick told BT Sport before going on to explain his decision.

"He came back from a little injury, so for me, it was also important to bear in mind we also have another game in three days' time.

"On the other hand, we were 2-0 up, the same score as at Villa Park, and I decided to make sure we defended that lead this time and I think it was the right decision to switch to a back five.

"We scored the third goal, we would have wanted to keep the clean sheet but unfortunately we didn't manage that, but at least we made sure nothing more happened."

United were indebted to David de Gea's performance as he made seven saves over the course of the match, increasing his season total to 81 – 11 more than any other Premier League goalkeeper.

The Spaniard's form has been exceptional this season, with his 6.2 'goals prevented' being the best figure among keepers in the top flight.

Rangnick acknowledged United fell well short of expectations in the first half, before paying tribute to De Gea's brilliant form.

Asked if he had to get tough at half-time, Rangnick said: "I wouldn't say a strong conversation [was had] but obviously we had to change a few things.

"In the first half we were not good in almost all aspects of the game: sloppy passing, not strong enough in the 50:50 situations, we gave away almost every second ball.

"Then in the second half we were more urgent, attacking them higher up the pitch and making the right decisions when on the counter, and we scored – this was the big difference."

On De Gea's display, he added: "He's been doing that for the last couple of weeks. Brilliant saves in the first half, [he's] one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now I'd say."

Victory for United moved them on to 35 points, level with Arsenal in sixth, though the Gunners have played one match less.

Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford ended personal goal droughts with second-half strikes as Manchester United put wasteful Brentford to the sword in a 3-1 Premier League win on Wednesday.

Ralf Rangnick's men threw away a two-goal lead away to Aston Villa on Sunday but they managed to avoid repeating the feat in what was their first league meeting with Brentford since 1947.

United were indebted to David de Gea – and Brentford's unimpressive finishing – in a first half that the home side largely dominated, but the Red Devils improved significantly after the interval.

Two goals seven minutes apart left Brentford deflated and Rashford added to their misery, with Ivan Toney's late strike a mere consolation.

Amid an early Brentford flurry, De Gea crucially got a boot to Mathias Jensen's 13th-minute effort, Vitaly Janelt and Mads Bech Sorensen then saw efforts deflected just wide before Christian Norgaard inexplicably volleyed over from close range.

United – who did not record a single first-half shot on target – had De Gea to thank again after the half-hour mark, the Spaniard blocking Jensen's goal-bound attempt.

The breakthrough ultimately came at the other end with 55 minutes on the clock – Anthony Elanga latched on to Fred's lofted pass into the danger area and nodded past Jonas Lossl after flicking the ball up for himself.

Greenwood then scored his first Premier League goal since October, tapping in from Bruno Fernandes' squared pass after being released by Cristiano Ronaldo's clever chested pass.

Ronaldo fumed at his withdrawal soon after for Rashford, but the England striker finished off a flowing move late on to justify his introduction with his first strike since October 30.

Toney prodded home from close range to force a tense finish but United saw it out.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United's starting line-up for their trip to Brentford after missing the past two games through injury. 

The Portugal captain has scored 14 times in 21 appearances this term but has not featured for Ralf Rangnick's side since a 1-0 home loss against Wolves on January 3, having suffered a minor injury setback. 

The former Real Madrid man led the United attack – replacing Edinson Cavani – in west London on Wednesday, though, with Bruno Fernandes slotting in behind his countryman as captain. 

Rangnick also handed another start to youngster Anthony Elanga, who was utilised from the outset against Aston Villa last Saturday, while Mason Greenwood was deployed on the opposite flank. 

Scott McTominay was Rangnick's only other change from the Villa game as he returned from a one-game suspension to replace Nemanja Matic in midfield. 

Club captain Harry Maguire was still only fit enough for the bench after suffering from an abdominal injury, meaning Victor Lindelof partnered Raphael Varane in the United defence again. 

Ralf Rangnick has urged Jadon Sancho to start replicating his training performance on the pitch for Manchester United after a hugely disappointing start to life at Old Trafford.

United spent a reported £72million on Sancho in pre-season, his move from Borussia Dortmund being long in the making after the club spent well over a year courting him.

Having left Manchester City as a teenager, Sancho blossomed into one of Europe's most promising young players in the Bundesliga – his haul of 51 non-penalty goal involvements over 2019-20 and 2020-21 was bettered by just five players across the top five European leagues.

Of those 51, 27 were assists, with Thomas Muller (39), Kevin De Bruyne (32) and Lionel Messi (27) the only three to boast a higher tally.

While some critics have argued Sancho's 16.0 expected assists (xA) in that time shows that his form was unsustainable, that was still an extremely high figure as he ranked 11th among the same group of players.

He has found life a little harder at United, though, registering just two goals as his only goal involvements. He ranks fifth in the squad for xA (2.0) and sixth for non-penalty xG (2.2) across all competitions, and this is not even a team that is thriving.

The England international came in for criticism after a particularly anonymous substitute appearance in the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa, though it would seem the Sancho playing in matches is almost unrecognisable to the one Rangnick sees in training.

"Whenever I see him train, he's showing that he's one of the best players in the training sessions," Rangnick said.

"But now it's about transferring that to when he's playing, and showing the same kind of level and performance on the pitch.

"I said that to him, by the way, the day before yesterday: 'Confirm the performances you show in training when you're playing on the pitch.'

"For me, it's not at all a question of his position. It's clear that in a 4-3-3 he's a player for either of the two wing positions, either left or right. He can play both.

"I think he would prefer a little bit the left side, because he can then switch inside and have a go on goal or shoot on goal with his strong foot.

"But for me, there's no question, no doubt about his position. He's a winger. He's somebody who can dribble fast with ball, and for me it's not at all a question of which is the best possible position for him."

Pressed for a potential explanation for Sancho's struggles, Rangnick was hardly definitive, but he did offer a few theories, namely greater demands physically and psychologically.

"It's difficult to say. I think it's a different league, it's a different competition. It's more physical," Rangnick continued.

"Now he's playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. I think it's also got to do with a lot of different things up here in his head. It's a difference if you come as an 18-year-old, unknown, a talented English boy to Borussia Dortmund.

"From then on, you can only improve; you can only make a success out of that. The level of expectation was a lot lower compared to the situation when, at the age of 21, you come to a club like Manchester United for a high transfer fee, with a high level of expectation.

"Everybody expected from him that he would be one of the best players in the team. Again, this is psychologically, emotionally a more challenging situation than the one he had at Borussia Dortmund, and these are exactly the kind of steps that he has to make to become a top player for the next 10 years for this club."

Rangnick is optimistic Sancho will rediscover his confidence with a few more decisive actions in the final third, though he did warn the 21-year-old that only he can take those steps, there is only so much those helping him can do.

"With those kinds of players, creative, offensive players, it's all about confidence. It's all about having that confidence, being aware how good they can be and then showing it in front of 75,000, or 45,000 at Villa Park.

"Of course, in the end he has to do that. He has [to make] that step again. As I said, in most training sessions he's training on a very high level. Now it's about having the transfer onto the pitch in the Premier League, in the FA Cup and in the Champions League.

"He can do that; he has the ability to do that. There is no doubt about that, but now we have to develop him into that kind of player, showing the same kind of performances that he showed at Borussia Dortmund.

"We can give him the guidelines, we can give him helping hands and show him that we are trying to accompany him on this way, and give all the necessary assistance that he needs, but in the end it's up to him to take those next steps."

Cristiano Ronaldo "cannot do things on his own" and Manchester United will therefore not look to build their team around one player, according to interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

The Portugal international has scored 14 goals and assisted three more in 21 appearances since returning to Old Trafford from Juventus in September.

That is double the number of goals than any other United player, with compatriot Bruno Fernandes next on the list with seven strikes to his name in 2021-22.

Ronaldo's incredible longevity was recognised with a special award from FIFA on Monday after becoming the all-time top goalscorer in men's international football history in 2021.

But while Rangnick is in awe of Ronaldo's scoring record, he has no plans to centre his United side around the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"What he has done with his career so far is amazing: 800 goals in competitive games, which no one has achieved that in the last 80 or 100 years," Rangnick said.

"That shows what kind of exceptional player he is. But the Premier League is the most competitive league in the world and he cannot do things on his own. 

"He is one important member of this team and that’s how we have to develop."

Ronaldo has missed United's last two games – a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round and a 2-2 draw against the same side five days later in the Premier League.

Rangnick is hopeful of having Ronaldo back for Wednesday's trip to Brentford, which has been rescheduled from last month after a COVID-19 outbreak in the United camp.

A raft of games have been called off in the English top flight in recent weeks, with bottom side Burnley having as many as four games in hand on some sides around them.

Thomas Tuchel is among those to have asked for more transparency in terms of games being called off, with Chelsea recently having a postponement request declined. 

Asked if he feels more should be done to prevent postponements, Rangnick said: "I don't know, I can only speak about our club here, we had some problems four weeks ago.

"Right now we don't have any issues, we have players available, we haven't had any COVID cases. I can't judge other clubs, it's something the Premier League has to deal with."

United head to Brentford sitting seventh in the Premier League and with just one win from their last five away top-flight matches. 

The Red Devils have scored in all 10 of their Premier League away games this season, which is the best-such 100 per cent record in the competition this term. 

However, three of the last four times they have failed to find the net on the road in the league have been in games in London (v Arsenal, Chelsea and Crystal Palace last season).

Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick will consider selecting Anthony Martial to face Brentford after holding clear-the-air talks with the forward.

Martial was absent from United's squad for Saturday's 2-2 Premier League draw with Aston Villa, which Rangnick explained was down to the player not wanting to be included.

However, the 26-year-old subsequently refuted his manager's claims by stating on social media that he "will never refuse to play a match for Man United".

Speaking on Tuesday, Rangnick did not explain the contrasting versions of events, but he left the door open for Martial to return to the squad should the forward prove his fitness.

"I had a conversation with him on Sunday about what happened and how I saw the situation," Rangnick said at a news conference previewing Wednesday's trip to Brentford.

"The matter is now resolved. He didn't train yesterday or the day before. But he will probably train today and after training I will then take the decision if he is selected or not."

Martial is reported to have rejected loan offers from other Premier League clubs, while Juventus and LaLiga pair Barcelona and Sevilla have also been credited with an interest.

The ex-Monaco man has scored 79 goals in 268 appearances since his debut in September 2015 – only Marcus Rashford (91 in 286) has scored more for United in that period.

Martial's 79 goals have come from an expected goals (xG) return of 64, meaning he has scored 15 goals more than expected from the quality of his chances.

That is the largest positive xG differential of any player at the club over the same period, followed by Mason Greenwood (11) and Rashford (10).

However, Martial's playing time has been limited this term – not helped by injury issues – with his 358 minutes on the field only the 21st most of all United players.

The player's agent, Philippe Lamboley, revealed last month that Martial is looking to join a new club in January due to a lack of playing time.

While Martial may play a part against Brentford, team-mate Paul Pogba is still not being considered for selection despite returning to training this week.

Pogba has been used just 13 times this season – and not at all under Rangnick – but could return from a three-month lay-off in the next few weeks.

"Paul had his first day of training with the whole group yesterday," Rangnick said. "He showed what kind of extraordinary player he can be.

"He will not be available for the two games this week. Hopefully after the break, with the cup game against Middlesbrough and the away game at Burnley, he can be an option."

Rangnick also confirmed he will make a late decision on whether Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo will feature in west London as they recover from knocks.

Wednesday's meeting will be the first between United and Brentford in the league since 1947 and their first in any competition since 1975, when United won 2-1 in an EFL Cup tie.

Anthony Martial has insisted he would never refuse to play for Manchester United, despite Ralf Rangnick's claims that he asked not to feature against Aston Villa.

The 26-year-old forward was absent as Rangnick named just eight substitutes, including two goalkeepers, for United's trip to Villa Park, which ended all square after Philippe Coutinho completed a late comeback from two goals down. 

Rangnick was already without Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo due to injury, with Anthony Elanga chosen to start on the left flank.

The United interim manager revealed last month that France international Martial is seeking a move away from the club due to a lack of minutes.

Sevilla were reported to be interested in Martial but are understood to be unable to afford his wages, with United apparently rejecting an approach to take him on loan until the end of the season.

Rangnick told reporters: "He didn't want to be in the squad.

"He would have been in the squad normally but he didn't want to and that's the reason why he was not travelling with us yesterday."

However, Martial – who joined from Monaco in 2015 – subsequently refuted his manager's claims.

On his Instagram story, Martial said: "I will never refuse to play a match for Man United.

"I've been here for seven years and I have never disrespected and will never disrespect the club and the fans."

Anthony Martial "didn't want" to be involved in Manchester United's 2-2 draw with Aston Villa, claimed Red Devils boss Ralf Rangnick, as the attacker continues to push for a move away from Old Trafford.

The 26-year-old forward was absent as Rangnick named just eight substitutes for United's trip to Villa Park, which ended all square after Philippe Coutinho completed a late comeback from two goals down. 

Rangnick was already without Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo due to injury, with Anthony Elanga chosen to start on the left flank.

The United interim manager revealed last month that France international Martial is seeking a move away from the club due to a lack of minutes.

Sevilla were reported to be interested in Martial but are understood to be unable to afford his wages, with United apparently rejecting an approach to take him on loan until the end of the season.

Martial seems intent on forcing his way out, however, with Rangnick confirming after the Villa draw that the player unilaterally decided to not be in the squad.

 

Rangnick told reporters: "He didn't want to be in the squad.

"He would have been in the squad normally but he didn't want to and that's the reason why he was not travelling with us yesterday."

Martial was out with a knee injury during Rangnick's first weeks, but he has yet to make an appearance in any competition since.

Ralf Rangnick believes Manchester United took another "step forward" despite feeling as if they had lost after throwing away a two-goal lead in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.

United found themselves 2-0 up in the 67th minute thanks to Bruno Fernandes' brace, his first-half opener a result of an Emiliano Martinez error and his emphatic second coming after Morgan Sanson's poor pass.

But it was a case of United being unable to get over the line, with Jacob Ramsey pulling one back before then teeing up Philippe Coutinho to net the crucial equaliser on his debut with eight minutes left.

United did control large parts of the match and arguably looked at their most fluent in attack under Ralf Rangnick, with Mason Greenwood and Anthony Elanga both threatening from the flanks.

But Rangnick could not hide his frustration at United failing to maintain their level into the dying stages.

"It is very difficult to find positives after these 95 minutes," he told Sky Sports. "I felt it was the best game since I came here, in the first half for 30 minutes, when we dominated the game. We had taken some steps forward but have a few things to do better.

"The plan was to press them in the midzone and we did that very well in the first 30 minutes, and control the ball, and those were the positives. When you are 2-0 up you have to defend better than we did in the last 15 minutes.

"We gave away too many balls at times in the last 15 minutes, we were not as compact as before and conceded the two goals. In the last 15 minutes before half-time we were not as courageous to step up, it was better in the second half and then you have to take the three points home. It feels like a defeat, to be honest.

"Right now it's very disappointing but what we showed was a step forward, but it's about getting the results, it feels like two points lost and given away."

Fernandes' first goal was only his second since September, with the midfielder – who wore the captain's armband – appearing to thrive a little more in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, missing out with a hip injury.

While he acknowledged the performance was better than some recent efforts, Fernandes was left bemoaning United's lack of ruthless in the final third, something Ronaldo may have been able to do something about.

"We got into the perfect position to score more goals and take the third goal and finish the game, but we don't get our chance on the counters and gave the chances to them," he added.

"They have good players up front and draw the game, it is tough to take because I think the game was under control.

"After our first goal they began to press us more, but still we had our chances and could have scored again. Sometimes the shot was not good, or the pass was not good and you start losing confidence, the game got more open and they got more space between the lines. With the quality of players they have up front, they hurt you.

"The performance was better than the result, more controlled but the main point is winning games and points. We deserved more, but it's not about deserving, it's about getting points.

"We still have a lot to improve but it is about performance and results together."

United remain seventh in the Premier League as a result of the draw.

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has urged his players to follow the lead of Cristiano Ronaldo and be more direct with one another.

Ronaldo called for United fans to have patience with Rangnick's approach in a recent interview with Sky Sports, and said he and his team-mates "can do better".

The 36-year-old added that he does not want to be "in sixth place or seventh place" and that he returned to the club "to try to win, to compete."

United have only lost one of Rangnick's seven matches in charge across all competitions, but recent performances have received criticism from fans and pundits alike, including Monday's 1-0 FA Cup win against Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Villa in the Premier League, Rangnick said he was pleased to hear Ronaldo's words, and said he hopes the rest of his players can show the same attitude.

"We have so many top, talented players," he told reporters. "It brings me back to what Cristiano said – we have to work and develop as a team together and if it's necessary to speak in a very direct manner to the boys, it helps a lot, even in the locker room.

"If Cristiano, for example, or any of the other players address that to the players directly on the pitch or in the dressing room, they are more than welcome to do that.

"I will do that myself as a coach – and my coaching staff in the pre-and-post match video – but we can only develop individual players if we develop the performances of the team.

"It's not only Cristiano, we have Edinson [Cavani], we have Harry [Maguire], we have quite a few other older players, David de Gea in goal, Victor Lindelof, Bruno [Fernandes]. 

"We have enough experienced older players who can not only be role models in training, on the pitch and in games, but also in all those conversations that happen in the locker room or when they are together in the hotel for away games or home games. This has to happen.

"In a united team, that happens automatically, and I can only invite and challenge and tell all the players, also the older players, to do that on a regular basis because that helps even more so in a team that we have currently."

The Red Devils currently sit seventh in the Premier League, 22 points behind leaders Manchester City and six behind West Ham in fourth place, but with two games in hand over both.

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