Football Features

Rangnick to Man Utd? What rival Premier League managers are saying

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 20:25, 28 November 2021

Ralf Rangnick is heavily rumoured to be taking over as Manchester United interim manager.

Reports have emerged late in the week that United have found the man to take them to the end of the season and only work permit issues are preventing the 68-year-old German from taking control immediately.

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Nicknamed “the godfather of gegenpressing”, Ralf Rangnick changed German football in the late 2000’s with his ideas about zonal marking and high pressing. Ralph Hasenhuttl and current Premier League leader Thomas Tuchel are among his disciples, but his influence spreads beyond those who worked under him and also includes Jurgen Klopp whose own devotion to installing gegenpressing at Borussia Dortmund was motivated by the success Rangnick was having with Hoffenheim.

With Rangnick’s appointment seemingly imminent, some Premier League managers were asked their opinions of Rangnick’s potential arrival. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Michael Carrick – “My head’s on the game”

Understandably, Manchester United’s current interim manager Michael Carrick was asked about Ralf Rangnick taking over at Old Trafford, which would put him out of a job. But Carrick could offer no unique insight:

“You know, speculation and reports are speculation and reports. As I’m sitting here now, I’m preparing the team for the game, my head’s on the game, I haven’t got any more news to share with you on that front,” Carrick said.

When asked about how United’s squad might handle Rangnick’s gegenpressing, the Englishman did add that: “there’s a good group of players here so whoever comes in with whatever style he’s implementing, I’m sure we can adapt.”

You can get ideas across pretty quickly. I think history shows that. Sometimes it’s not just the ideas but just a different voice, maybe, or a freshness. History proves that, for whatever reason.”

  • Thomas Tuchel – “He was one of the pioneers”

Thomas Tuchel was working in a bar when Rangnick, his coach at SV Ulm where he had to retire early because of injuries, made him trainer of the U-15’s. Tuchel confirmed this saying: “he was one of the main figures to convince me to try coaching.”

The rest, as they say, is history. And it’s history Tuchel is keen on people knowing. “He was very early a leader in bringing zonal marking and pressing and the line of a back four into German football and still being aggressive. He was one of the pioneers to introduce a 4-4-2 and high pressing. So tactically for sure he is an elite manager with Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte.”

  • Pep Guardiola – “Is it confirmed?”

Pep Guardiola, the best coach in the world and defending Premier League champion, was clearly withholding judgement until there was an official announcement, asking: “is it confirmed?”

“We will spend three hours to discuss possible candidates, when they are appointed we will talk. Right nowMichael Carrick is the manager and that is my only concern”

However, Pep have some praise for Rangnick, saying: “He did an incredible job at Salzburg and Leipzig.”

  • Jurgen Klopp – “A good coach is coming to England”

Jurgen Klopp initially took a similar line to Guardiola: “It’s a bit tricky, usually we don’t talk about things [when] they’re not confirmed yet but if you tell me that will happen then I might believe you.”

But the gregarious German couldn’t help but elaborate: “unfortunately, a good coach is coming to England so that’s how it is, coming to Manchester United. Ralf is obviously a really, really, experienced manager, build almost famously two clubs from nowhere to proper threats and forces in Germany with Hoffenheim and Leipzig.”

Klopp continued, saying that Rangnick “did a lot of different jobs in football but his first concern was always being a manager and that’s what his best skill is. United will be organised, I think on the pitch we will have to realise that, that’s obviously not good news for other teams.”

Finally, Klopp had a word of warning for anyone who is expecting an instant transformation once Rangnick takes charge: “like all coaches in the world we need time to train with our teams and Ralf will pretty quickly realise that because they play all the time so that makes it a bit trickier for him.”
  • Brendan Rodgers – “It was never in my thinking”

Brendan Rodgers was one of the names linked with the Manchester United manager’s position, so he was obviously asked if the Rangnick appointment gets rid of that distraction for him. His response was clear: “No. It was never in my thinking at all. I’ve reiterated my commitment to here, and I always have done, and even more so after now. Hopefully after tonight, you’ll stop asking.”

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  • David Moyes – “A very experienced manager”

David Moyes predictably kept it fairly simple in his comment on Rangnick’s arrival, saying: “He is a very experienced manager very well thought of throughout the coaching world so that will be interesting for Manchester United. He is someone who is incredibly well thought of throughout Europe and now we have a chance to see him in the Premier League.”


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