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Ralf Rangnick’s stark Manchester United warning must be listened to despite poor finish – Casey Evans



If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid. And in the case of Manchester United, this is exactly what is happening right now with some fans’ perception of Ralf Rangnick.

When he replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, there was real hope that Rangnick would be able to steady the ship before leading United to a top-four finish. Given how his spell in charge has turned out, it’s clear to see that we were being a little optimistic.

Much was made of Rangnick’s ‘godfather of gegenpressing’ reputation when he first arrived, but it quickly became apparent that the German would be unable to get this United team playing the way he would like. In fact, the first half of his maiden game in the Old Trafford dugout against Crystal Palace is the only real occasion where we’ve seen his philosophy implemented.

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The major issue here stems from whether fans thought the club were underachieving during Solskjaer’s reign. The sad truth is that the Norwegian was probably overachieving despite a number of disappointing results, as some of the wins United clocked up early on in the season were not accompanied by stellar performances.

United also gave Rangnick no new signings in the January transfer window in a bid to address some of the squad’s glaring issues. When you look at the teams he has managed previously (this even includes his final year as RB Leipzig boss in 2018/19) the squads were built by him as he looked to implement his philosophy. He was not allowed this ‘luxury’ during his interim spell at United.

Furthermore, injuries have compounded the issues with the squad and Rangnick has been quick to point this out. Overall, it’s only their top-four rivals also being so poor that has kept United in the race for a Champions League spot.

Regardless of what you think of Rangnick’s spell in charge, it should not impact whether you have faith in his ability to help guide the club in their rebuild when he takes up a consultancy role. If this interim period has done anything to that end, it has allowed him to gain first-hand experience of just what is wrong with the squad.

Unfortunately in football, short-termism is the order of the day as we don’t want to feel like we’re wasting 90 minutes of our lives on a lost cause. But if Rangnick’s words are listened to, it might finally be a case of United accepting that there is no quick fix to the mess that has been created over the last decade.

In his post-match press conference after the Liverpool defeat, it seemed that he had come to a damning verdict about the current squad. “Any owner if you analyse, the team needs a rebuild,” he said. “Contracts are expiring. It’s clear for me there will be six, eight, 10 new players and before you sign them you need to be aware what football does the new manager want and then fit into that profile.”

The Manchester Evening News understands that Erik ten Hag is likely to be appointed as the next manager of United. But even if the club don’t make the top four, it seems that the German’s blunt interviews and analysis have gone a long way to clearly point out the issues that have been ignored for so long.

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