Monday, March 27th, 2023

Ralf Rangnick open to staying beyond summer as Manchester United manager

Ralf Rangnick would be open to becoming Manchester United’s permanent manager should the club offer him the role when an interim tenure that begins with Sunday’s visit of Crystal Palace ends in the summer.

The German has a two-and-a-half-year contract, with the intention being that he stays in a consultancy role after this season.

Manchester United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick watches the win over Arsenal from the stand
Ralf Rangnick’s 24-match task: to go fourth with Manchester United
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Asked whether he would consider remaining as the long-term manager Rangnick said: “The people here have been very clear talking about a six-month role. We have never spoken about what happens in summer. I’m fully aware they might be looking for a new manager. If they will then speak with me about that we will see.”

The 63-year-old then joked about when he worked as sporting director for RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig: “Maybe if they ask my opinion and everything goes well and we develop the team I might even make the same recommendation to the board that I did at Leipzig twice when I recommended it might be a good idea to keep working with me for one year. But this is all hypothetical. We cannot speak about that. For me now it’s about winning the next games.”

Rangnick admitted the precise description of his consultancy role had not been detailed. “We haven’t spoken about that in all the conversations we had with John [Murtough, football director] and also with Ed [Woodward, executive vice-chairman]. I also had a long phone call with Joel Glazer [co-owner] for more than half an hour. But we haven’t spoken about what will happen in the next two years from next summer until summer 2024.”

Rangnick described as “nonsense” that he would earn a bonus were he to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, with whom he worked at RB Salzburg, and ruled out a January move for the striker. “We have excellent offensive players here already,” he said.

Rangnick offered an insight into how he may advise the club as manager and consultant when criticising the transfer strategy since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in May 2013. “The club has had no continuity in signing new players and sticking to the DNA of the club,” he said. “In the future, the board members and myself have the same opinion. It’s important not to have many changes in management.”

Rangnick takes over a side three points behind West Ham in fourth, and 12 behind the leaders, Chelsea. Rangnick was at Thursday’s 3-2 win over Arsenal, a United display as uneven as those over the past two months.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Arsenal
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) celebrates after scoring against Arsenal. Rangnick wants his team to have more ‘control of the game’. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
Rangnick cited the managerial abilities of Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel, Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola as being a difference.

“It’s definitely a good squad enough to compete in the top four. If you look at the top three teams they seem to be very stable, probably some of the best coaches in the world. When Jürgen came to Liverpool the squad he inherited at the time was definitely not a better squad than the one I inherit at United.

“Whenever I came to other clubs in the middle of the season, which was the case in Stuttgart or Schalke twice, you have to make sure that you have the biggest chance to win the next game. Then step by step let the players participate. They have to go together with me, they have to follow not only my instructions but they have to buy into the idea that I can offer them how we should want to play.”

Rangnick has previously stated that he turned down an offer from Chelsea to be the interim manager because the players might view his temporary status as a weakness. “We spoke only about the interim manager for four months, without any perspective to work in the long term,” he said. “Here now we have only played one-third of the games in the Premier League and we have agreed on a two-year advisory role and when a club like Manchester United contacts you, you cannot possibly turn it down.”

After Michael Carrick left United on Thursday after 15 years, having been the caretaker manager for the past three matches, Rangnick indicated he intended to bring in his own staff. “I will obviously try to find one, two, maybe three people who can join us in one or two weeks but due to the Brexit regulations it’s not too easy.”

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Rangnick is expected to implement a high-pressing style. He played down the 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo being unable to execute this. “Having seen Cristiano yesterday in the second half at the age of 36, an amazing top professional. What I saw from Cristiano yesterday, he is more than willing to put his input into the team.”

Regarding strengthening the squad next month, Rangnick said that was not in his thoughts for now. “Winter is not the best possible time for sustainable transfers,” he said.

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