Ralf Rangnick relegated as Austria slump to third defeat in a row

Ralf Rangnick‘s planned consultancy role at Manchester United ended before it began, with the interim manager leaving to take charge of the Austria national team.

His spell in charge has got off to a very tough start, with Austria finishing bottom of their UEFA Nations League group.

Rangnick’s Austria have now been relegated along with England, after their 3-1 home defeat to Croatia last night.

A win would have condemned France to relegation instead, but Austria were unable to get the job done.

Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Ralf Rangnick relegated

Rangnick went into the Austria job with a bit of a point to prove after overseeing a disastrous few months at Manchester United.

So the way his Austria spell has started has not been ideal. After winning his first game, Rangnick has now lost three successive games, and in the last five, he has drawn one and lost four.

He lined his side up with a back three against Croatia, before switching to a back four during the game. He told Kicker after the game: “We’re still struggling a bit on the wing-back positions.”

Rangnick had a tough job, to avoid last place in a group with France, Denmark and Croatia, so there was something inevitable about this eventual relegation.

The campaign began with a 3-0 win over Croatia in early June, so there was early reason for optimism, but Rangnick’s Austria have slumped since.

In UEFA Nations League B, Rangnick and Austria may find themselves facing more evenly matched opposition, or they could even land England.

But it does have a drawback, with Austria now falling into Pot 2 for the Euro 2024 qualifying draw.

Austria will not be at the World Cup later this year, failing to qualify before Rangnick took charge.

Cost of dismissing Rangnick

The Sun reported last week that United’s decision to end Rangnick’s consultancy early cost the club £15 million, a staggering sum to pay in compensation.

This excessive sum highlights how badly run United have been, hiring a consultant to do a manager’s job, and then getting rid of him before he could do the job he was best at.

Perhaps Erik ten Hag simply didn’t need the help, but a bizarre summer transfer window which saw United chase Marko Arnautovic and Adrien Rabiot suggested the club did need some strategic guidance. United paid a lot not to have this.

For now Rangnick is back in management rather than consultancy, it’s just not going too well, and he will need to figure out how to be a winning coach again.

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