Ralf Rangnick says he “could not have possibly turned down” the role of interim manager at Manchester United and the German wants to create a more balanced squad to help them compete with their Premier League rivals.
Rangnick has begun his role as Manchester United’s new interim manager for the remainder of the campaign after his work permit and necessary paperwork were approved.
He will meet the players ahead of a training session on Friday afternoon as they undergo preparations for Sunday’s game at home against Crystal Palace.
The 63-year-old watched on at Old Trafford on Thursday night as a Bruno Fernandes goal and a double from Cristiano Ronaldo saw off Arsenal in a 3-2 win. United’s second win in three games constituted an upturn in form under departed caretaker boss Michael Carrick, following the poor run which culminated in the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
In his first press conference as United boss ahead of his maiden game in charge, Rangnick outlined his short and long-term objectives at the club, with his initial priorities being to address their defensive record and close the gap on Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in the table.
Rangnick said: “We are talking about six and a half months, one third of the games, and we have agreed on a two-year advisory deal. If a club like Manchester United contacts you for such a role, you cannot possibly turn it down.
“It is one of the biggest clubs, if not the biggest club in the world. It is a big challenge, but I am more than happy to work with this group of players.
“I mean obviously I have watched the latest games, I also watched out of interest the games against Liverpool and Manchester City, so I am pretty well acquainted with what is going on at the club.
“The major target for me is just to bring more balance to the team. We conceded two goals yesterday and if you look at the total number of goals conceded, it is on average of two a game.
“That is just too much. Those are not the kind of games you need every day. In football to me, it’s to minimise the coincidence factor.
“It’s about winning games and, in the end, I’m very ambitious. We want to make the most successful season that is possible. Right now, we have to be realistic. The difference between us and the top three is big. But let’s see.”
‘I tried to convince Carrick to stay’
Carrick announced he was departing United following the conclusion of his caretaker spell in charge during which he helped lift the mood at Old Trafford with a 2-0 win over Villarreal to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages, a 1-1 draw with Premier League leaders Chelsea, and Thursday’s win over Arsenal.
Rangnick revealed he spoke with the former United midfielder at length about the prospect of remaining at the club, but Carrick’s mind was already made up.
Criticism has been levelled at the United coaching staff after Solskjaer oversaw five defeats in seven games prior to his dismissal. Rangnick wants to make some additions to his backroom team while also benefitting from the knowledge at the disposal of current coaches.
He added: “I had a conversation with Michael for more than an hour and tried to convince him [to stay], but he needed a break and I understand his decision.
“I am more than happy to work with the current staff because I need their expertise on the current squad. I will try and find one, two, maybe three people to help us. But due to Brexit, it’s not that easy.”
After his time as interim manager comes to an end in June, former Schalke, RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim boss Rangnick will continue working at Old Trafford for at least another two years in a consultancy role.
Addressing questions on whether he could stay on as manager beyond the end of this season, he said: “The people with whom I’ve spoken with, they have been very clear that it is a six-month role.
“We have never spoken about what will happen in the summer. If they will speak about me with that, we will see. if they ask me about my opinion, I might make the same recommendation that I did at RB Leipzig twice, that it might be better to work with me for one year.”
More to follow…
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