Ralf Rangnick’s stern warning to Manchester United must be heeded despite bad ending – Casey Evans

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is 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 could steady the ship before leading United to a top-four finish. Considering how his spell turned out for him, it’s clear we were being a bit optimistic.

Much was made of Rangnick’s “godfather of gegenpressing” reputation when he first arrived, but it quickly became clear that the German would not be able to make this United team play the way he would like. In fact, the first half of his first game on the bench at Old Trafford against Crystal Palace is the only real occasion on which we have seen his philosophy implemented from him.

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The main issue here stems from whether fans thought the club was underperforming during Solskjaer’s reign. The sad truth is that the Norwegian probably overachieved despite a series of disappointing results, as some of the victories United recorded earlier in the season were not accompanied by stellar performances.

United also did not give Rangnick any new signings in the January transfer window in a bid to address some of the team’s more glaring problems. When he looks at the teams he has previously managed (this even includes his last year as RB Leipzig boss in 2018/19), he created the teams as he sought to implement his philosophy. He was not allowed this ‘luxury’ during his interim spell at United.

Additionally, injuries have compounded problems with the team and Rangnick has been quick to point that out. Overall, it’s just that their four main rivals are also so bad that has kept United in the running for a Champions League place.

Whatever you think of Rangnick’s spell in charge, it shouldn’t affect whether you have faith in his ability to help guide the club in their rebuilding when he takes on a consulting role. If this intervening period has done anything to that end, it has allowed him to gain first-hand experience of what is wrong with the team.

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 to be heard, United may finally accept that there is no quick fix to the mess that has been created over the last decade.

In his post-match press conference after Liverpool’s loss, it seemed he had reached a damning verdict on the current team. “Any owner if you look, the team needs a rebuild,” he said. “The contracts are about to expire. For me it is clear that there will be six, eight, 10 new players and before signing them you must know what football the new coach wants and then fit that profile.”

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

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