Ralf Rangnick says it is not his job to convince Paul Pogba or any other player to stay at Manchester United.
The midfielder’s future is once again the subject of intense speculation, with Pogba out of contract next summer.
Rangnick said Pogba was due to return to the UK from Dubai on Friday, where he undertook a warm-weather rehabilitation programme to recover from a thigh injury sustained on international duty with France in November.
The United interim boss anticipates it will be another two weeks until Pogba can return to first-team training and then a further two weeks to reach the required level of intensity to play in his United system.
Rangnick spoke to the World Cup winner over the phone on Tuesday and hopes to meet him in person on Sunday, the day after United’s next Premier League match against Norwich.
The 63-year-old said he is looking forward to working with Pogba but stated it was not his job – nor that of anyone else at the club – to convince any player of the merits of staying at United.
“Players have to want to stay and play for the club,” said Rangnick.
“For a big club like Manchester United, if a player does not want to play for a club like Manchester United, even in the long term, I don’t think it makes sense to convince him to change his mind.
“This is such a massive club [with] such fantastic support, I don’t think that anyone in the club should then try to convince the player to stay.
“But on the other hand, let’s wait and see. I’ve spoken with him for 15 minutes over the phone a few days ago. Let’s have him come back, get fully fit, train with the team and then we will see where we stand [and] how the team has developed by then.
“He can be an important player, I’m fully aware of that, but this is true for all the other players that we have.
“I’m not only the coach of Paul Pogba once he’s fully fit, I’m also the coach of all the other players and my ambition is to make them better, to develop each individual player, and this is only possible by improving the performance of the whole team.”
Rangnick also said he had told team doctor Steve McNally and the head of rehabilitation and physiotherapy Robin Sadler that in future he did not want players to travel away from the club for treatment.
The German is set to make significant changes to the side who drew with Young Boys in a Champions League dead rubber on Wednesday night.
That line-up featured 11 changes from the team who took on and beat Crystal Palace last Sunday in Rangnick’s first official match in charge since the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Rangnick said he had operated two training groups this week and that the players who featured against Palace had been rested on Tuesday as part of preparations for the Norwich match.
Right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who came into the team on Wednesday night, is a doubt for Saturday’s squad after injuring his wrist and knee during the European match. Diogo Dalot is likely to return to the starting XI in his place.
Rangnick said Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic was another “question mark” due to a cold, though he had tested negative for Covid-19.
Rangnick ‘more than happy’ with start
Rangnick told Sky Sports he is “more than happy” with the attitude of his squad since becoming Manchester United interim manager – and said the club will decide his future.
Rangnick, appointed until the summer at the end of November following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking, immediately set about improving United and led them to a first home clean sheet in the Premier League this season in his managerial bow against Crystal Palace, before a much-changed line-up drew with Young Boys in the Champions League.
Now in the job for more than two weeks, the German told Sky Sports those games – and a fortnight’s worth of training – has helped him to get up to speed with the quality of his new squad, and that he has been delighted with their response to their poor start to the season ahead of visiting Norwich, live on Saturday Night Football.
“So far, I’m more than happy with their attitude and eagerness to learn and get information that will help them get better not only against [without] the ball but with it,” he said.
“Having only two clean sheets until the Crystal Palace game and having no clean sheets since April at Old Trafford, it was very clear for me where our first focus should be for the first couple of days and weeks.
“If we can produce more clean sheets, if we don’t even allow [the opponent] to even shoot on our goal, the more I’m convinced that we will win games because with this group of players we are always capable of creating chances and scoring goals.”
Follow Manchester United with Sky Sports
Follow every Man Utd game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.
Want the Man Utd latest? Bookmark our Man Utd news page, check out Man Utd’s fixtures and Man Utd’s latest results, watch Man Utd goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Man Utd games are coming up live on Sky Sports.
Get all this and more – including notifications sent straight to your phone – by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Man Utd as your favourite team.
Hear the best Premier League reaction and expert analysis with the Essential Football and Gary Neville podcasts, keep up-to-date with our dedicated Transfer Centre, follow the Sky Sports social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and find out how to get Sky Sports.