How coaching guru Ralf Rangnick will revive the ailing Manchester United squad – Work them to the bone, ban cola and kebabs… and stop passing back to David de Gea!
- New Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick will shake things up
- The German has a number of non-negotiable principles he will look to enforce
- They include pressing, work rate off the ball, and scrutinising his players’ diet
New Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick is expected to shake things up at Old Trafford.
His sides’ high-octane, high-intensity style of play demands a certain amount of physical and mental preparation, tactical understanding and commitment to his principles, from eating healthier to learning how and when to press.
So below, Sportsmail‘s Rob Draper outlines exactly how the new man Rangnick, 63, will revive United’s ailing squad ahead of his first game as boss against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
New Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick (centre) is expected to shake things up
Teach players the press
Manchester United players can expect to be schooled in the art of the gegenpress — intense counter-pressing — which Ralf Rangnick is said to have pioneered.
It is based on research his coaching staff carried out in 2006, which found that a side are most likely to score within 10 seconds of gaining possession and have the best chance of winning the ball back within eight seconds of losing it.
His sides have since become known for swarming opponents after losing possession and seeking the quickest route to goal once the ball has been retrieved.
Ralf Rangnick has put his new Manchester United squad through their paces in training
‘If you know that, within 10 seconds after winning the ball, you have the highest chance to score then it’s logical that you shouldn’t waste much time playing the ball square, square, back, back,’ Rangnick told a recent Coaches’ Voice webinar.
‘We told our players after winning the ball, the first view should be up front.
‘One or two of the strikers should spring behind the back four of the other team and then we need to try to play the first possible ball into their backline.’
Work them to exhaustion
Rangnick’s coaching team ask players to press in training with the same intensity as they would in competition. ‘In every session, you need to ‘provoke’ this kind of football,’ he said.
‘What we are trying to achieve is an overload of things that the players need to do in the game so that, when they play on Saturday, it almost feels a bit less difficult.’
On Friday, Rangnick vowed to adapt his style to the players he has at his disposal this season
As a player who worked under Rangnick at the German club SSV Ulm, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel marvelled at how accurately their sessions foreshadowed match day.
‘Thomas absorbed a lot of what Rangnick was doing on and off the pitch,’ their former team-mate Oliver Wolki told German authors Daniel Meuren and Tobias Schachter. ‘He often raved about how close to the game the training was.’
Cut back on passes to de Gea!
David de Gea has been criticised for his distribution but the Manchester United might be relieved to hear that Rangnick expects his goalkeeper to contribute fewer passes than more a possession-based manager such as Pep Guardiola.
‘We are not we are not big fans of square and back passes,’ Rangnick told Coaches Voice.
‘The goalkeeper should have the fewest contacts, because in every league on the world in the world, the goalkeeper is not the best player in on the pitch. So for that very reason he should not have the highest amount of context.’
Rangnick will manage United for the first time as they welcome Crystal Palace on Sunday
Scrutinise their diet
Per Mertesacker, previously of Arsenal and Germany, admitted he got the ‘biggest b********g in the world’ for eating a kebab as a young defender at Hannover 96. ‘I remember it to this day,’ Mertesacker said last week.
‘He said if you do that again and don’t take care of your nutrition, you’ll be gone. These moments when a coach and a mentor gives you the right triggers, you quickly learn from them.’