Manchester United fans hoped for a ‘new manager bounce’ when Ralf Rangnick was appointed as interim boss. So far the impact has been minimal.
Rangnick has steadied the ship somewhat after the lows of the 4-1 loss to Watford under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but you could argue Michael Carrick got the side back on track first during his brief stint as caretaker boss.
Under Rangnick, United have been steady at best, and in the defeat against Wolves the Red Devils came off second best. There is a lot of work to do if United are going to achieve the minimum expectation of achieving a top four place.
It feels like United are in crisis mode right now, to live in the moment. But take a step back, and the current struggles could prove to be cathartic for the club and actually end up doing United a favour in the long term.
Here is a look at three reasons why the poor performances can work out as a positive…
Transfer needs exposed
At times we have seen United win despite weaknesses, papering over the cracks. This time they are glaringly evident for all to see.
The club’s under-matched midfield made Joelinton look world class, and seem to be second best in every match which is played. It’s not the only area of deficiency either.
Right-back looks to be an issue, while United’s young forwards have not made a convincing case to show they can step up when Edinson Cavani’s contract expires.
Rangnick is getting a first hand look at the deficiencies, which may accelerate plans to try to solve one or two of them this January during the transfer window. If not, work can begin on finding fixes for the summer.
Players with bad attitudes will be moved on
United’s sizeable squad is packed with players unhappy over a lack of game time. Others may simply have a bad attitude because they cannot get on with Rangnick’s methods.
If these players continue to cause a stink behind the scenes and on the pitch, United have no option but to get rid of them, either on loan or permanently, this month or in the summer.
Rangnick is staying on as a consultant for two years after the season. So the players can’t rebel and simply try to outlast the interim boss.
He is going to be central to setting strategy for the next boss and he will not recommend the club keep players who have caused him problems. United can’t keep going through managers with these same players. It’s time to ship out the players who don’t want to contribute.
No Ole repeat
It’s fair to say United got a bit carried away during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s spell as interim boss, abandoning plans to decide on a manager in May, and appointing him permanently in March. Immediately the results went downhill.
There seems to be no question of Rangnick getting the job on a permanent basis if performances carry on as they have been. Rangnick will move upstairs into a consultant role where he is more comfortable, and a new manager will come in with fresh ideas.
The worst outcome would have been United skipping on a Ten Hag to appoint Rangnick full-time, and then ending up having to sack him next season when it all goes wrong.
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