Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick responds to Gary Neville criticism

Ralf Rangnick insists it would have been illogical of Manchester United to prevent players from embarking on overseas breaks during the March internationals.

United had an 18-day gap between games after their Champions League defeat by Atletico Madrid as they failed to progress to the FA Cup quarter-finals and their planned Premier League opponents for the weekend, Liverpool, faced Nottingham Forest in the last eight.

Rangnick flew to Barbados and was pictured at the second Test between the West Indies and England while Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were visible in Dubai and Jesse Lingard detailed his trip to Milan on social media. Co-chairman Avram Glazer attended the Formula 1 grand prix in Bahrain.

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Former United captain Gary Neville accused United players and staff of being ‘tone deaf’ over their public jaunts but Rangnick was undeterred by the criticism.

“In a way, I can understand but that brings us back to where we currently are,” Rangnick said. “Those are things that can be changed and hopefully we will never be in a situation where we have no competitive game for two-and-a-half weeks.

“I can understand that former players and TV pundits have to have a strong opinion, this is pretty normal. On the other hand, the situation was a particular one. We had two-and-a-half weeks since the last game against Atletico and an international break and we only had six or seven players for training.

“I don’t think it would have made sense, although maybe for public perception it might have made sense, to show ‘listen, we’re training every day with five or six on-field players’. But I don’t think it would have made sense. If you do that then those six players will physically not be in a better state of mind.

“So that’s why we decided to give them a couple of days off and the same for players on international duty and then have them back for a week and now prepare since Tuesday for the game. Most of those players who were on international duty only came back yesterday so we only had one day to prepare for the game.”

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