Four problems Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick will encounter

Ralf Rangnick has been confirmed as Manchester United interim boss.

Rangnick’s arrival is an exciting new start for United. The German coach can potentially revolutionise the club’s playing style and recruitment.

It is worth just measuring expectations slightly, however. It is not going to be totally smooth sailing for Rangnick.

Here is a look at four problems the interim boss could encounter…

Photo by Ronny Hartmann/Bongarts/Getty Images


Very little time to overhaul playing style

The ideal time to appoint a coach like Ralf Rangnick would be the start of July, and not late November. There is not even an international break to get adjusted.

Once he arrives as manager, Rangnick will have very little time to get his squad of players to up speed.

It is not going to be a seamless transition by any stretch. United’s players need a shake-up, need teaching, and that is not going to happen overnight.

This graphic from Sky Sports highlights how far United’s current squad is, from the standard Rangnick wants his side to get to.

When United achieve this level of play, Rangnick’s tactics will look very smart and the team will be very difficult to beat.

But this could take weeks, if not months to get to. Between now and then it could be a bumpy ride.

Too much damage may have been done

One of the big issues facing Rangnick is the thin line between success and failure.

United need to qualify for the top four and secure a Champions League place for next season.

The interim boss inherits a side in 8th place, five points back from fourth.

When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over in 2018/19, the team were in 6th, and could not reach the top four.

Considering there may be teething problems at first implementing a new style of play, there is very little room for error.

One positive is the Champions League, with United qualifying for the last 16 with a game to spare. This will allow him to rotate the squad against Young Boys.

In the Premier League, the task is tough, with United one of five or six teams who will be scrapping it out for the fourth spot.

With United failing to win a Premier League home game since Cristiano Ronaldo’s second debut against Newcastle in early September, too much damage may have been done under Solskjaer.

Big name distractions

Rangnick is not used to dealing with superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba in such a high pressure, media scrutinised environment.

Whatever decisions he makes, there will be rent-a-quote radio pundits sticking their oar in and leading criticism, even if it is justified.

Ronaldo will have to change his game to adopt Rangnick’s preferred pressing style, while Pogba’s uncertain future makes him a question mark, whether he is player the German will want in his squad.

And what if Rangnick decides he does not see either as key starters? How does he cope with that and prevent both players from becoming distractions?

While United could try to sell Pogba in January, the Frenchman could simply refuse to leave, creating an uncomfortable stand-off with Rangnick in the middle.

Photo by Alexander ShcherbakTASS via Getty Images

Far tougher to buy players on the cheap

Rangnick has a very impressive transfer record at his previous clubs, and has not spent above £20 million on a player.

This will be trickier while United interim boss, if he is even entrusted to make transfers at all.

As soon as United go knocking, clubs usually raise the price. Signing players for bargain fees will be a lot more difficult.

Rangnick is on record claiming transfers should have around a 50 per cent success rate, he told The Times.

But when major transfer fees are invested, the pressure increases for the club to be more precise than Rangnick suggests.

This will take some adjusting to, as cheaper gambles on players will be tricky for him to pull off.

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