The era of Rangnick is about to begin at Manchester United. In the aftermath of a dismal run of results, the search for a brand-new permanent Red Devils manager has begun.
With the chances of securing a first Premier League title in the post-Ferguson era entirely out of reach, the club’s attentions now turn to the race for a Champion’s League place for next season.
So, can Rangnick turn this floundering ship around?
What are the Odds of United Making the Top Four?
Anyone who wants to take a risk-free bet on United making the top four will likely win their money back. Everyone knows how much of an impact a new manager can have when galvanizing the dressing room.
With United’s current team, who have a history of giving up when things don’t go their way, this could be a profitable bet to make. Most sportsbooks still have United as favorites for the top four, after Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.
On paper, the Red Devils’ squad still far surpasses Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur’s, with West Ham and Leicester expected to fade following the winter break.
Good enough to challenge for the title? No, but more than enough quality to finish fourth come May. This is a smart bet to make, and anyone who knows sports betting 101 will see this as a safe gamble.
Who is Ralf Rangnick?
Rangnick is not a name most English football fans have heard of. Yet, the 63-year-old German is widely regarded in his homeland. With the decision to leave his director’s position at Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow and remain in Manchester in a consultancy role, Rangnick will face his most formidable challenge yet.
Rangnick is widely known in Germany as a manager with incredible tactical knowledge and a drive for perfectionism. Nicknamed “The Professor,” he’s known as the Godfather of the Gegenpressing style.
Despite Klopp making the Gegenpress famous worldwide, Rangnick was the original inventor of these tactics. With his dominant personality and strong mind, many expect him to recreate the incredible work he did at RB Leipzig as he dragged them into the Bundesliga and the top half of the table.
Rangnick also has a history of similar successes with Hoffenheim and Schalke. If not for Bayern Munich’s dominance in Germany, Rangnick would likely have multiple league titles to his name.
Rumors state that the new interim manager is already planning to transform the dressing room by raiding Leipzig for the highly-rated Mali midfielder Amadou Haidara for £33 million.
Can Rangnick Be Compatible with Manchester United?
Anyone who has played with this wise coach knows that he demands the best. The problem is getting the dressing room onboard.
His tactics typically require high pressing and a collective effort, especially in defense. That lack of defensive effort has been criticized all season and, arguably, led to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking after the embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Watford.
Getting players like Ronaldo and Pogba to work harder will be the challenge, as these are not players known as box-to-box masters.
If the players cannot adapt to Rangnick’s demands, the rest of the season could be marked by further disaster.
The Interim Coach
One flaw that could undermine Rangnick is his position as an interim coach. This is not like other interim coaches who received a permanent position due to their performance in the final ten games of a season.
The Premier League season is yet to reach the halfway mark – there’s still a tremendous amount of football to play. Everybody knows Rangnick will not be in the manager’s chair next summer, and there are no indications that the German has any intention of taking another permanent managerial role.
Could that mean the players won’t fight as hard for their manager? Potentially. But the players now have no excuses.
Ole has never been mentioned in the same breath as Klopp, Guardiola or Tuchel. His previous record has been poor, and many suspected that his position as a playing legend of the club is the only reason why he got the offer in the first place.
With that, all eyes are on the players. Rangnick has a free hand, and that could benefit him.
Despite United’s shocking position in the mid-table doldrums, there’s little expectation that the club will be playing in the Europa League next season.
Fans must also remember that the January transfer window lies ahead, so if Rangnick wants to strengthen his squad or offload some dead wood, he will have that opportunity.