Ralf Rangnick has finally been confirmed as Manchester United’s interim manager until the end of the season before moving into a two-year consultancy role.
The 63-year-old German leaves Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with United director of football John Murtough said that Rangnick was their No 1 choice to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
His first game at the helm of the club could be on Thursday against Arsenal at Old Trafford if his visa is finalised in time. If not, Michael Carrick will remain in charge.
Ralf Rangnick has finally been confirmed as Manchester United’s interim manager
Rangnick is highly regarded in the game and is nicknamed ‘the godfather of gegenpressing’
Rangnick said: ‘I am excited to be joining Manchester United and focused on making this a successful season for the club.
‘The squad is full of talent and has a great balance of youth and experience. All my efforts for the next six months will be on helping these players fulfil their potential, both individually and, most importantly, as a team.
‘Beyond that, I look forward to supporting the club’s longer-term goals on a consultancy basis.’
Murtough added: ‘Ralf is one of the most respected coaches and innovators in European football. He was our number one candidate for interim manager, reflecting the invaluable leadership and technical skills he will bring from almost four decades of experience in management and coaching.
‘Everyone at the club is looking forward to working with him during the season ahead, and then for a further two years in his advisory role.’
United legend Gary Neville was quick to commend the appointment, saying on Twitter: ‘Welcome to the Greatest Football Club in the World Ralf Rangnick. A contract for 6 months to coach the team A contract for 2 years to coach the club.’
Gary Neville was quick to take to Twitter to commend the appointment of Rangnick at United
Michael Carrick will stay in charge against Arsenal if Rangnick’s visa hasn’t been approved
Rangnick will be tasked with galvanising United’s season and steering them back into the top of four of the Premier League standings. They are currently eighth, five points behind West Ham in fourth.
United held Premier League leaders Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday – Jadon Sancho put United ahead before Jorginho equalised from the penalty spot.
Sky Sports pundit and United hero Neville even suggested that Rangnick picked the team and was in touch with the coaching staff at Stamford Bridge to offer guidance as the game was unfolding.
Darren Fletcher was pictured wearing earphones in the dug out during Sunday’s match, while Cristiano Ronaldo was a surprise omission from the starting line-up.
‘A lot of people having a go at Michael Carrick for dropping Ronaldo and picking that MDF,’ Neville wrote on Twitter. ‘I’ve a feeling the the incoming manager has picked that team as it’s a huge departure from midweek and what they’ve been doing.’
United’s Darren Fletcher appeared to communicate with Rangnick via earpiece at Chelsea
United drew 1-1 at Premier League leaders Chelsea on Sunday, with Jadon Sancho scoring
Rangnick boasts an impressive footballing pedigree – renowned as the ‘Godfather of Gegenpressing’, the German has significantly influenced a number of leading coaches in the game such as Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann.
Rangnick has drawn comparisons with his and Klopp’s tactical ideas. In an interview with the Coaches Voice in September, he said: ‘Our idea is clear: it’s very, very similar to my almost-coaching friend Jurgen Klopp.
‘Our football is very heavy metal, rock and roll and it’s not slow balls. It’s not square passes, back passes. Just having the ball ourselves doesn’t make sense.’
Klopp has been equally complimentary of Rangnick.
‘Unfortunately a good coach is coming to England so that’s how it is, to Manchester United,’ Liverpool boss Klopp said, when asked about Rangnick last Friday.
‘Ralf is obviously a very experienced manager, built famously two clubs from nowhere to proper threats and proper forces in Germany with Hoffenheim and (RB) Leipzig.
‘Been to lot of different jobs in football but always his first concern actually was being a coach, being a manager and that’s what his best skill is. United will be organised on the pitch I think we should realise that and that’s obviously not good news for other teams.’
Jurgen Klopp is one of a number of esteemed coaches to have been influenced by Rangnick
Ragnick (left) has a deep admiration for English football, having studied in England aged 21
Rangnick also studied in England in his early 20s, a time that forged his love of English football. He played for non-league club Southwick FC.
Attention now will turn on which players at United can fit into Rangnick’s style of play. Ronaldo will shoulder most of the scrutiny after being benched at Chelsea, while Rangnick has previously also been critical of Luke Shaw.
When quizzed about United last year, Rangnick said: ‘I think that they could do with a left-back.
‘I know they have Luke Shaw but I’m not so sure if he’s still on the same kind of level you need for a club like Manchester United.’
And Jamie Carragher questioned whether Rangnick is going to have time to get his methods across to the United squad, especially with December being the most hectic time in the footballing calendar.
‘There’s a clear plan of what he wants to do,’ Carragher said on Sky Sports on Sunday. ‘When you watch Man United you’re not quite sure what they’re doing.
There will be scrutiny on Ronaldo’s place in the United setup under Rangnick’s guidance
Rangnick has also previously questioned whether Luke Shaw is up to United’s standard
‘There’s no exact science on how to win a football game, but United have not had a clear plan.
‘This guy has got a clear plan. The problem he’s going to have is his plan is chalk and cheese to United.
‘There are five or six players who you think aren’t going to fit into that system. This needs to be coached, this isn’t something you work on and it’s done in a week. It’s difficult to find the time to train.’