Erik ten Hag played a key role in Ralf Rangnick’s sudden exit from Manchester United — ESPN’s Insider Notebook has the latest. PLUS: Why Man City are happy to lose Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus this summer.
Ten Hag’s role in Rangnick’s demise at United
Manchester United and Ralf Rangnick agreed to cut ties at the end of the season in part because of Erik ten Hag’s reluctance to work with the German in his proposed consultancy role, sources have told ESPN.
Rangnick spent the second half of last season as interim manager at Old Trafford and was due to take up a two-year consultancy position starting this summer.
But just a week after the end of the campaign, United announced Rangnick would make a clean break from the club and focus fully on his role as manager of the Austria national team.
Sources told ESPN that United instigated the termination of the agreement in consultation with Ten Hag, although Rangnick was already unhappy at not being granted a formal handover with the new manager.
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Rangnick, according to sources, was expecting to meet Ten Hag face-to-face for a detailed meeting but instead the new United boss opted to only grant a phone call.
Sources also ESPN that United bosses had become necessary of exasperated by some Rangnick’s particularly public comments in news conferences, that as many as 10 new signings were this summer. Sources added that United asked Rangnick to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of his departure.
Rangnick oversaw a disastrous spell in charge of the first team following his appointment in November, winning just 11 of his 29 matches. His reign ended with a 1-0 defeat against Crystal Palace on the final day of the season and United announced his departure in a statement a later.
It read: “We would like to thank Ralf Rangnick for his efforts as interim manager over the past six months.
“By mutual, Ralf will now focus on his agreement on his new role as manager of the Austria national team and will not therefore be taking up a consultancy role at Old Trafford.
“We would like to wish Ralf the best of luck in this next chapter of his career.” — Rob Dawson
Julien Laurens shares his disappointment of how Paris police treated Liverpool fans before the Champions League final.
Liverpool receive FA support over Champions League chaos
Liverpool have been engaged in private conversations with the Football Association to discuss how English football’s governing body can actively support the club’s dealings with UEFA following the policing and security issues which marred last month’s Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris, sources have told ESPN.
Liverpool supporters were held in huge crowds, with some sprayed with tear gas by riot police, as they were kept outside the Stade de France amid claims by French authorities of ‘thousands of fake tickets’ causing delays at the turnstiles.
The kick-off for the game, which ended in a 1-0 defeat for Jurgen Klopp’s team, was delayed by 35 minutes due to the problems outside the stadium and there were also reports of supporters being attacked as they attempted to leave the ground for the nearby train station.
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UEFA have formed an independent inquiry, with Liverpool also gathering statements and evidence from supporters affected by the problems at the game, but there has been anger and frustration among the club’s fans at the lack of public support or intervention from the English FA in the days and weeks since the final.
The English FA has still to issue a public statement relating to the events in Paris, but speaking to reporters this week, FA chair Debbie Hewitt said that dialogue has taken place with Liverpool.
“We’ve talked extensively to Liverpool, to the club, and asked them about how we can best help them,” Hewitt said. “What’s important to me as the chair of the FA is that [Liverpool CEO] Billy Hogan and Liverpool feel we’re doing everything we can support getting the facts and making sure they are impartial. To date, Billy feels we are doing that.
“When situations happen, the most important thing is that the facts are gathered and are gathered in the most independent way possible. And that is Uefa’s responsibility — it’s their tournament, not the FA’s. It’s really important they are able to satisfy that the facts have been gathered in a way that is fully independent.
“Sometimes in those situations, our best role is not necessarily to be a public spokesperson, particularly when it’s not our tournament. But to do what we can behind the scenes to ensure both things happen.”
Liverpool have not publicly detailed the extent of the FA’s involvement, but sources have told ESPN that private conversations “offering support” have taken place between senior figures at Anfield and within the FA. — Mark Ogden
Julien Laurens shares his thoughts on how Cole Palmer will “fit perfectly” in Pep Guardiola’s system at Manchester City.
City’s faith in Cole Palmer could see Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus leave
Manchester City have not ruled out the prospect of allowing both Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling to leave this summer because of their faith in 20-year-old forward Cole Palmersources have told ESPN.
Arsenal are leading the chase for Gabriel Jesus while Chelsea have made Sterling their top target under new owner Todd Boehly.
City sources say Gabriel Jesus is more likely of the two to leave the Etihad Stadium this summer but they have not ruled out allowing both to depart.
Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez are arrived for bolster the forward but Pep Guardiola and his staff also have high hopes for Palmer and believe the England Under-21 international could be on the verge of his breakthrough campaign.
Palmer has already made 11 first team appearances, scoring three goals, but missed much of the second half of last season through injury. He is set to be part of Guardiola’s squad to tour the United States this summer and then compete for a place on the right of City’s front three next season.
City will allow Jesus to join Arsenal if they meet the £50 million valuation. Sterling, meanwhile, is interested in a move to Chelsea but there are doubts at the Etihad about whether the Stamford Bridge club will table a significant offer for a player who only has one year left on his contract. — Rob Dawson
Ukrainian clubs prepare for return to European action
The Polish city of Lodz will host Dynamo Kyiv’s Champions League second qualifying round tie against Fenerbahce next month due to the ongoing military conflict in their country forcing the 16-time Ukrainian champions to stage the game in a neutral country.
Dynamo will become the first Ukrainian club side to play in European competition since Russia’s invasion in February, but the war is now largely restricted to the eastern regions, UEFA are continuing to insist that all teams from the country play their home games outside of Ukraine .
Lodz, a 560-mile drive from Kyiv, hosted Ukraine’s Nations League tie against the Republic of Ireland at the Stadion Miejski Widzewa Lodz earlier this month and the 18,000-capacity venue will also stage the first-leg of Dynamo’s qualifier against Turkish side Fenerbahce on July 20.
Dynamo and champions Shakhtar Donetsk will play in the Champions League this season, with Dnipro-1 in the Europa League and Zorya Luhansk and Vorskla Poltava competing in the Europa Conference League.
All Russian teams continue to be banned from UEFA competition, while UEFA has also confirmed that clubs from Ukraine and Belarus will not be drawn against each other due to the latter’s political allegiance with Russia. — Mark Ogden