Reaction to Rangnick departure: Ten Hag's comments and lack of unity gave two clears hints exit was coming

Ralf Rangnick has left Manchester United, the club confirmed on Sunday. The German will not be taking up his planned consultancy role.

Details over Rangnick’s role as consultant were always loose from the moment he was appointed. Now it has been decided to take a clean break.

All in all, Rangnick’s appointment looks fairly pointless. Manchester United hired a specialist in long-term planning, and asked him to perform a short-term job, where his skillset is limited. With no financial backing. The focus was all wrong.

The positives of Rangnick’s appointment were set to bear fruit over the next two years. Now we won’t even get that, and it looks increasingly bizarre.

Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images

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The signs for Rangnick’s departure were coming

Rangnick’s departure felt inevitable over the last couple of months. He started speaking loosely in press conferences, and insisted the club needed 10 new signings this summer.

After the last game of the season, the press went in on Rangnick, criticising his performance as manager heavily. It all seemed too co-ordinated and too coincidental to have had no input or approval from the club. He had been thrown to the wolves.

New manager Erik ten Hag was asked about Rangnick’s consultancy role in his press conference and offered a curt response, simply stating: “That is on the club.”

It was hardly a ringing endorsement. If it was Ten Hag’s decision not to follow up with the consultancy, so be it. He is the manager, and must be allowed to run operations as he sees fit, without interference.

Rangnick’s departure does at least remove a narrative of conflict behind the scenes. You could have expected the press to pick holes in his role and stir up clashes or difference of opinion between him and Ten Hag, over the next couple of years. From that perspective, a clean break can benefit everybody.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

It was bizarre how when Ten Hag pitched up at Selhurst Park for the final game of the season, Rangnick suggested he had no knowledge he would be in attendance. They also did not meet up in person after the game. Rangnick flew straight out to take up his new job as Austria manager.

The lack of unity was discouraging. Whether a decision from the club, or the managers themselves, the lack of a face to face handover meeting might be an own goal. There was valuable information to be passed on.

The whole Rangnick era hasn’t quite been a disaster, because United got to where they needed to be, with Erik ten Hag as manager. It would have been worse to stick with Solskjaer all season, or to appoint another manager who may have plastered over the cracks, and even ended up getting the job full time. But there may have been a middle ground, where a top four place still could have been achieved.

By the same token, this all feels horribly handled by Manchester United, just when it seemed like there might be some joined up thinking, we are left being told the past few months was a huge waste of everybody’s time. We can only wish Erik ten Hag the best of luck, he will need it.

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