Manchester United have named German Ralf Rangnick as interim manager until the end of the season, the Premier League club said on Monday, eight days after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Rangnick, 63, steps in to replace the Norwegian, who was removed after United’s 4-1 defeat by Watford earlier this month, their seventh loss in 13 games across all competitions which left them eighth in the Premier League standings.
“Manchester United is delighted to announce the appointment of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager until the end of the season, subject to work visa requirements,” said a club statement.
“Following this period, Ralf and the club have agreed that he will continue in a consultancy role for a further two years.”
United’s former midfielder Michael Carrick, one of Solskjaer’s assistants, took charge of the team for their Champions League victory at Villarreal last Tuesday, and oversaw the 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.
Carrick will remain in charge of the first team until Rangnick’s work visa is finalised.
United, who are languishing eighth in the table with 18 points from 13 games, host Arsenal in the league on Thursday.
Rangnick, who began coaching in the early 1980s, is a proponent of ‘gegenpressing’ — a style of football in which teams press high and use counter-pressing to win the ball back as soon as possible, rather than falling back to regroup.
“I’m excited to be joining United and focused on making this a successful season for the club,” Rangnick said.
“The squad is full of talent and has a great balance of youth and experience. All my efforts for the next six months will be on helping these players fulfil their potential, both individually and, most importantly, as a team.
“Beyond that, I look forward to supporting the club’s longer-term goals on a consultancy basis.”
Rangnick leaves his role as head of sport and development at Russian Premier League side Lokomotiv Moscow to take over at Old Trafford.
United have been criticised for lacking consistency and a gameplan under Solskjaer this season and their former defender and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville suggested Rangnick’s appointment could lay the foundations for long-term success.
“Welcome to the greatest football club in the world Ralf Rangnick. A contract for six months to coach the team. A contract for two years to coach the club,” he tweeted.
Rangnick has coached a number of clubs in Germany, enjoying great success. He achieved back-to-back promotions with Hoffenheim in 2006-07 and 2007-08 to get them into the top flight for the first time.
He led Schalke to the German Cup in 2011, before helping establish RB Leipzig as a leading Bundesliga side during two spells as coach.
Rangnick enjoyed most success in his role as director of football at Leipzig, a position he fulfilled from 2012 to 2019. The club rose from the regional German fourth tier to competing in the Champions League during his reign.
While Rangnick is expected to get United’s attack firing on all cylinders again, it is the defence that needs immediate attention, with the team conceding 22 goals in 13 league games – the fifth worst record in the Premier League so far this season.
“Ralf is one of the most respected coaches and innovators in European football,” United football director John Murtough said.
“He was our number one candidate for interim manager, reflecting the invaluable leadership and technical skills he will bring from almost four decades of experience in management and coaching.” @REUTERS
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