Ralf Rangnick is quickly learning what a difficult job it is to manage expectations at Manchester United.
United’s new German boss admits he’s dealing with some unhappy players but continues to downplay the situation as the Premier League giants look to get back to winning ways in the FA Cup.
The interim manager lost his first match in charge on Monday night, when Wolves inflicted a 1-0 home loss that was far more one-sided than the scoreline suggests.
United’s meek performance was followed by reports about a poor mood inside the dressing room, with as many as 17 players said to be unhappy.
A number of those are fringe players but there are supposedly some star names among the dissatisfied, yet Rangnick seemed unperturbed by such talk.
“Well, I mean this is not only an issue with a club like Manchester United,” he said ahead of Monday’s FA Cup third-round clash against Aston Villa.
“When you have a big squad, in the last two games we had most players available.
“Yes, we had an issue with three centre-backs missing out against Wolves but – in general – we had most players available, apart from Paul Pogba.
“If you have that many players and 10 outfield players can play and three being substituted, then of course you have quite a number of players – in our case 12, 13, 14 players who don’t even play, or not even being in the squad.
“Then those players are not happy about that situation. It’s obvious, it’s clear.”
Frustration is understandable given the current plight of the 20-time league champions on top of any background concerns, with United facing a key decision about their next permanent manager.
Interim boss Rangnick has not ruled himself out of the running but talk about the likes of Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag and long-admired Mauricio Pochettino at Paris St Germain continues.
Asked if the fact players do not know about his future could be impacting performances, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s successor said: “We have players with contracts expiring in the summer.
“We have maybe also one or two players who still want to leave, although they are under contract.
“It’s about the players dealing with that in a professional way.”