Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick provided more information on the absence of strikers Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani.

The two missed United’s 4-1 loss to Man City at Etihad on Sunday, with many particularly questioning Portuguese’ absence.

To compound the loss even further, Rangnick lost both Luke Shaw and Raphael Varane after they tested positive for Covid-19.

With the quartet missing, it left United with a daunting task against Pep Guardiola’s league leaders, and despite Jadon Sancho equalising in the first half, the hosts ran out comfortable winners at the end.

“Would it help anything to tell you it’s frustrating?” replied Ralf. “It’s just a fact. If players tell the doctor and medical department they cannot play, as a manager, I have to accept it. I cannot force a player to play if he’s not available because he’s got an injury.

“Look, Edi trained the last few days and trained well but he’s still feeling it after those three training sessions. Yesterday afternoon, he was still not fit to play. It’s a fact. I cannot force a player to play as a manager, if he doesn’t feel fit enough and well enough to play.”

The loss heavily dented United’s hopes of making it into the top-four, with Arsenal, who won on Saturday, moving above them.

The Red Devils will look to bounce back from the defeat when they face Antonio Conte’s Tottenham next.

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