The day many of us have been waiting for since we first saw the rumours break out – Ralf Rangnick is sitting in that sweet, sweet press conference room as Manchester United manager.
After his work visa was approved on Thursday, United announced that he would be holding an in-person press conference at 9am Friday morning, and immidiately Red Devil fans across the world filled with excitement.
It is no secret that the man dubbed “The Football Professor” and “The Godfather of Gegenpress” is a clever, clever guy. Independent tactical analysis accounts went crazy, data and football analysts were scouring spreadsheets, designers were on hand to create countless graphics, and editors were reading hundreds of statistics within articles for publication – something that hadn’t been happening in the Manchester United media windmill recently.
All of this was based on past interviews from Rangnick – his fantastic webinar with The Coaches’ Voice, many past interviews with The Times, ESPN… you get the gist. However, Rangnick now has provided some insight in to how he is planning on setting up and going about his role as interim Manager.
1. Integrating new ideas will not be easy
One of the first things Ralf Rangnick mentioned in his press conference was the lack of time to train he has with the players. Rangick was very clear in his press conference about the imidiate changes he wants to make.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that the team have abundant talent, young talented players, but also enough experienced players in the squad.” Rangnick claimed.
“But the major target for me in the next couple of days and weeks is just to bring more balace in to the team.
“My approach [is] to help to team to get more balance, to get more control on the game, and yesterday’s game [against Arsenal] was exciting for the fans. But for myself, as the future coach, those are not the kind of games that you need every day because in football, for me, it is to minimise the coincidence factor and to have control and game control.”
However, he explained that it is going to be hard to implement changes fast due to the intense turn-around of games.
“I maybe only have one training session [with the full squad before the Crystal Palace game]… it’s literally one training session, so there are not that many things you can change on the training pitch. But of course, it’s about getting to know the players, speaking to them, letting them know what the approach will be.
“It will not be easy in the middle of the season, I am fully aware and I have enough expeirence to know that you cannot change everything within one or two days, or even one or two weeks. Other German coaches who have come to the Premier League have had the same experience.“
Later in the presser, he also noted, “Even tomorrow I cannot do a lot with the players who played yesterday [against Arsenal] because I need to make sure they have enough power and fuel in their tanks for the game on Sunday [against Crystal Palace]. So physically, we cannot really train. The only way we can help them and give them an input is mentally.“
2. He wants to develop United’s “DNA” while respecting the club’s past
Rangnick is very aware of the culture and history around Manchester United. In the conference, he talked about players such as Georoge Best and Bobby Charlton, and how he has been doing his own research in to the club in the last week or so.
He also talked about how hard it can be for a club to move on from a sustained period of one manager, such as United with Sir Alex Ferguson.
“Having had Sir Alex for 27 years, winning numerous titles… having had the same manager for 27 years is unique, it’s exceptional. For me, it’s not that unusual that after such a long successful spell, that the club needs to find the new pathway.
“There have been changes in management, 5 or 6 managers since Sir Alex left, and therefore it was also difficult for the club to gain continuity with regards to signing new players, developing, keeping and sticking to the DNA of the club, and I think this is vital in modern fotoball, that you do that.
“For me it is not unusual that there was so many changes, and i think for the future, and i think we have the same opinion, the board members and myself, that it’s improtant that this will be deeloped in the future. there will not be that many changes in management.”
Ralf spoke like a man who already has a good idea of what makes Manchester United so iconic within football, and why it is really important to not deviate completely from the club’s philosophy.
“The legacy of this club is unique. There are not that many club with such a history and DNA. It’s not only a legacy, its somthing that everybody who has the pleasure of working for this club, we have to follow this legacy and make sure that the DNA will also be respected, always be respected.”
3. He likes Cristiano Ronaldo
Rangnick is a clever guy. He was (obviously) questioned about how Cristiano Ronaldo was going to fit in to his side, given the arguments that have been thrown about all week about how Ronaldo was/was not going to fit in to his teams. His answers on Ronaldo showed clear intent that Rangnick wants to play the Portuguese captain in his side.
“He [Ronaldo] is still a player that can easily make the difference, and it’s about how we can develop the whole team. It’s not only about Cristiano, I mean we play in the most competitive league in the world, so we need all the players on board.
“What I saw from Cristiano yesterday, he’s more than willing to do that, to put his input into the team, and the other teammates will have to do the same.”
Rangnick also pointed out that Ronaldo is a unique specimen when you consider his age and physicality.
In conclusion, Ralf Rangnick knows exactly what he is doing, and exactly what needs to be done. It is clear he took deep considerations before taking the job, and that he is very excited to get going both in his upcoming managerial role, but also in his role as a consultant in the future.
He has many ideas on how to drag this club out from the pits, place it back at the top of the tree and get it back to being the pinicle of English and European football that it used to be, and start a new chapter the club’s history books.