After Manchester United were beaten by Wolves at Old Trafford in their last Premier League outing, Ralf Rangnick spoke to the media in which his opening words were: “I knew it would be a difficult job.”
The game marked the German’s first defeat as interim manager of United, but it was a defeat that didn’t shock many people at all.
Prior to the fixture, the Reds had put up performances hardly inspiring against Norwich, Newcastle and Burnley, with all three games quite difficult in which to find positives from a United perspective. What are the difficulties?
In recent weeks, rumours have continued to grow concerning several first-team players being unhappy at the club. This is seen as one of the major factors in why Rangnick’s side aren’t showing everyone what was expected of them after the 63-year-old’s arrival was announced.
For someone who has been nicknamed the ‘Godfather of Gegenpressing’, barring the opening 45-minutes in Rangnick’s first game in charge, Manchester United haven’t pressed.
Evidently, his side fail to keep possession of the ball in large spells due to mis-controls, poor passes and press traps. All of which are personnel faults, instead of structural and coaching mistakes.
Alongside Rangnick are coaches that he trusts, with Chris Armas, Sacha Lense and Ewan Sharp having joined the German in different roles since his appointment.
The former RB Leipzig man is highly respected amongst fellow German coaches, with Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann all singing Rangnick’s praises at some point in the past.
However, currently it seems as though Rangnick is in a job in which playing the attractive style of football he wants is out of his control. This is something down to the player’s body language, as well as quality, with names such as Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and Aaron Wan-Bissaka just a few players experiencing one of the two issues, if not either.
Currently, the 20-times Premier League winners sit in seventh place and six points off West Ham in fourth, and a top-four finish for the Old Trafford club seems an uphill task.
The only remaining cup competitions for the club are the Champions League and the FA Cup, with the last time United tasting silverware coming in May 2017. This was the Europa League under Jose Mourinho, a trophy which they failed to win on two separate occasions under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Come the end of the season, Manchester United will be hoping to have got their hands on one of the Champions League and the FA Cup, in a time where Ralf Rangnick and others at Old Trafford will be planning for the German’s successor.
However, it isn’t Rangnick who has anything to lose, but the players who have been dubbed as a group that threw their previous manager under the bus, and in the process of doing so to a vastly experienced footballing figure.
By: Aadam Haladh / @AadamHaladh
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Paul Ellis – AFP