Fri | Jan 21, 2022

Rangnick set for interim Man United role

Published:Friday | November 26, 2021 | 8:27 AM
Manchester United’s Donny van der Beek (right) scores his side’s goal during their 4-1 loss in the English Premier League to Watford at Vicarage Road, Watford, England, on Saturday.
Manchester United’s Donny van der Beek (right) scores his side’s goal during their 4-1 loss in the English Premier League to Watford at Vicarage Road, Watford, England, on Saturday.


Manchester United have turned to renowned German coach Ralf Rangnick about rescuing the team’s season by taking temporary charge.

No final agreement has been reached, but discussions with United are ongoing about the former Leipzig coach leaving his role as head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press yesterday. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing talks.

The managerial vacancy was opened up at United by the firing of Ole Gunnar Solskjær on Sunday. Rangnick could be coach only until the end of the season, but there’s potential for an ongoing role at the record 20-time English champions.

Former United midfielder Michael Carrick, who was on Solskjær’s coaching staff, was put in temporary charge, with United saying they wanted to appoint an interim manager until the end of the season before making a permanent appointment. Carrick started midweek with a 2-0 win at Villarreal, securing a place in the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League.

United are back in action in the English Premier League (EPL) on Sunday at Chelsea, 12 points behind the leaders. But there is more than two-thirds of the season remaining to close the six-point gap on the Champions League qualification places.

United have struggled to find stability since the 26-year reign of Alex Ferguson ended with him heading off into retirement in 2013 by lifting the EPL trophy for a 13th time. Only three trophies of note have been won since then, with Louis van Gaal delivering the FA Cup in 2016 and José Mourinho the League Cup and Europa League the following year.

United would be going from the inexperience of Solskjær to 63-year-old Rangnick, who has experience as a sporting director and coach – particularly within Red Bull’s network of clubs with roles at Salzburg and Leipzig. Before then, he won the German Cup with Schalke in 2011, when he also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Rangnick was a pioneer of the high-intensity pressing style of play developed in Germany and increasingly dominant in world football over the last decade. He was an influence on younger coaches such as Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel and Bayern Munich’s Julian Nagelsmann.

Rangnick was only the coach for two single-season spells at Leipzig, and one of those was spent in the second division with the then fast-rising German club.

Going to United could allow him to get accustomed to the team before moving upstairs when a permanent manager is appointed.

Most of Rangnick’s time over the last decade was spent as sporting director, first at Salzburg, then Leipzig, then in an overall role for the whole Red Bull network, overseeing transfers and hiring while coaches handled the day-to-day tactical work.

His most recent role in Russia with Lokomotiv Moscow has been more of the same, with overall authority for transfer strategy and the recent appointment of a fellow German, Markus Gisdol, as coach.

Rangnick has regularly been linked with high-profile jobs at top European clubs over the past decade, without the rumours ever quite being realised. He came closest when he was linked with the AC Milan coach’s job for much of the 2019-20 season, but the move fell apart after incumbent Stefano Pioli improved results enough to earn a contract extension.