Mirror Football examines some of the comments made by Ralf Rangnick, Manchester United’s interim manager, as he closes in on his final match.
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Ralf Rangnick may still be a success at Manchester United if he assists the club transition under Erik ten Hag. But few people will remember his time as interim manager.
After United’s poor start under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s leadership, the former RB Leipzig boss couldn’t turn things around. It’s now clear that the Red Devils will finish in last place in Premier League. Some observers were not just irritated by the performances.
Rio Ferdinand, ex-United centre-back Rio has taken issue with Rangnick’s outspoken nature. He even called for the club’s ban on him giving interviews. And “airing dirty laundry,”It is difficult to achieve good results, as an ex-player put it.
“I’ve said this for a couple of weeks now, he’s saying a lot of stuff to almost distance himself from responsibility,”Ferdinand stated on his Vibe with FIVEYouTube. “But he has to accept some responsibility that the team has got worse since he’s been in there.”
These comments follow Rangnick’s claim that the United board had blocked several potential January moves. Rangnick wanted to add a striker during the window. He was interested in Liverpool’s Luis Diaz, and Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez.
“Maybe they didn’t want to do any winter business. Maybe we should have at least discussed it internally because it might be necessary and important,”He stated.
“It would have been short notice anyway but still, 48 hours is 48 hours. It might have been at least worth a try. But we didn’t and it wasn’t done.”
That was far from the only example of Rangnick upsetting people with his comments, though. Here, Mirror Football looks at some other examples from his short-lived spell in the dugout.
How will you remember Rangnick’s time in charge? Have your say in the comments section
Cristiano Ronaldo decision in the derby
Rangnick, like his predecessor Solskjaer, suffered a derby defeat against Manchester City during his tenure. In this case, it was a 4-1 defeat against the reigning champions, but it wasn’t just the result which caused a stir.
The manager left Cristiano Ronaldo out of his starting XI for the game, saying “Cristiano experienced some issues with his hipflexor Friday, and he hasn’t trained since.”. However, it was later reported that Ronaldo was none too happy with the call.
Silver Screen Beat reported that Ronaldo was furious at his omission, but Rangnick doubled down after the situation was questioned by former United captain Roy Keane. “I believe in our medical department.” Rangnick said.
“Ronaldo seems to have something more.” Keane had told Sky Sports. “The manager coming out talking about something about his hip flexor but the man is a machine and is rarely injured, but every now and again he comes out with that about his hip flexor, doesn’t add up to me.”
Donny van de Beek in Europe
United’s Champions League run ended early with a last-16 defeat against Atletico Madrid, but before that was a chance for Rangnick to give fringe players a chance against Young Boys. Even then, though, it wasn’t all plain sailing.
A mistake from Donny van de Beek allowed the Swiss side to score, and Rangnick didn’t mince his words after the game. “It was a bit frustrating that we gave away the goal because we played too many of our balls in their pressing area.” he said.
“We could have easily cleared the ball and we were always dangerous when we played the ball to the second or third lines. They were still playing in that situation after I said that. The ball was a five-metre pass. [Young Boys]We just waited for that ball. It was a more pressing invitation than we had sent.”
After that 90-minute run-out, Van de Beek only played another 20 minutes of football for United, spread across three substitute appearances. He has spent the second half of the season away from Old Trafford, having decided Everton would offer more opportunities, and it remains to be seen if he’ll have a future at his parent club when returning from loan.
Lowered league ambitions
Before the start of the season, United were being touted as Premier League title contenders. By the time Solskjaer was sacked that was no longer realistic, but Rangnick still risked irking some players and fans as early as February.
“Manchester United wants to be fourth in the league right now.” he said ahead of the club’s February clash with Brighton. “It’s number four in the league. This is our ambition, what it’s worth and what we are aiming for.”
At the time, United were seven points behind third-placed Chelsea. However, had they picked up 27 points from their next 13 games – the tally amassed by European rivals Arsenal – they’d now be level with the Blues.
His comments came shortly after Ronaldo had set a target of third at a minimum. “Manchester United should win or come in second or third place in the league.” the number seven told Sky Sports.
“I don’t see any other position for Manchester United. In my heart, I don’t accept that our mentality be less than being in the top three in the Premier League, in my opinion.”
Upsetting the top brass
It wasn’t just players and pundits who were left fuming at Rangnick’s comments. Indeed, the club’s higher-ups were reportedly left unsatisfied by comments which might be considered too honest.
United were beaten twice by Liverpool this season, losing 5-0 at Old Trafford under Solskjaer and 4-0 at Anfield with Rangnick in the dugout. And it was the interim boss’ words after the latter which didn’t go down too well.
“It’s embarrassing, it’s disappointing, and maybe even humiliating.” he said. “We must accept that they are six years ahead now.
“When Jurgen Klopp came they changed at the club and lifted not just the team but the club and city to a new level. That is what needs to happen with us in the next transfer windows.”
Rangnick may have been able to accomplish so much in six months. However, comments like these weren’t the most popular. It is now up to United to respond to this gap and close it with their competitors, even though the decision-makers may disagree with Rangnick about the size of the gap.