Ralf Rangnick 'tore into' Eric Bailly in front of teammates for returning late and injured from the AFCON

Eric Bailly did not play a single minute for Manchester United in 2022, and a fallout with manager Ralf Rangnick appears to be why.

The Athletic report Rangnick ‘tore into’ Eric Bailly in front of his Manchester United teammates after he arrived back ‘late’ from the African Cup of Nations.

Bailly did not play a minute since returning from the tournament, despite having started twice for Rangnick during his opening month as manager.

Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Rangnick’s stint beset by problems

The report from The Athletic talks through a host of problems encountered by Rangnick during his time at Manchester United.

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These included, failing to bring in the staff he wanted, and his preferred tactical formation of 4-2-2-2 being unsuited to United’s players.

He also had to deal with players repeatedly pulling out of the squad on the day of the game, and differing messages in terms of what the squad wanted from their training sessions.

Tactical plans were often made or changed late, with analysis of opponents coming in at irregular intervals.

Rangnick could also ‘not get a meeting’ with Ed Woodward or Matt Judge to discuss player incomings and outgoings in late January.

This left Jesse Lingard stuck at the club, despite it claimed in the report that he and Anthony Martial were affecting squad morale with their open desire to leave.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Rangnick ‘tore into’ Eric Bailly

The Bailly situation is hardly likely to have helped Rangnick’s cause either. The Ivory Coast defender has always been a popular member of the squad with his teammates, and is particularly close to Paul Pogba.

Manchester United’s defence has been awful this season, conceding 58 league goals. There has been particular spotlight on the form of Harry Maguire, and at one point, Bailly begged on social media to be selected ahead of him.

This was publicly criticised by Rangnick in a press conference, who said: “This should not happen in a football team, no matter what league.”

Bailly was on the bench for United’s final game against Palace, but this has been par for the course. Even in case of emergency, Rangnick would rather not have used him.

The decision to extend Bailly’s deal a year ago looks like a clear error. A recent report from ESPN reported the centre-back is ‘frustrated’ and ‘looking to leave’. Nobody could blame him, after a near full season sat on the sidelines.

Even with Rangnick gone and set to be replaced by Erik ten Hag, it’s doubtful he has a future at Old Trafford.

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