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03rd Dec 2021

Ralf Rangnick rejected Chelsea but ‘could not possibly turn down Man Utd’

Danny Jones

The Godfather of Gegenpressing has given his first press conference as United manager

Manchester United held its first Ralf Rangnick press conference on Friday morning as the highly-regarded German coach officially replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The 63-year-old coach also takes over from Michael Carrick, who announced his somewhat surprising departure from the club after his three-game temporary tenure.

Speaking to the press for the first time, Rangnick kicked things off by discussing how he could have gone to Chelsea before they appointed Thomas Tuchel in January but that the terms of the interim contract and project as a whole weren’t as enticing as United: “To be honest, if a club like Manchester United contacts you for such a role, you cannot possibly turn it down”.

He went on to say that “It’s obviously the biggest club – one of, if not the biggest clubs in the world. Of course, it’s a massive challenge and I’m more than excited to work here and I’m more than happy with this group”.

When asked about Carrick’s decision to leave the club, he spoke of a private conversation he had with both him and Kieran McKenna in which he “tried to convince him to stay on board”, though he understood his decision.

As for those that remain, he insisted: “I’m more than happy to work with the current coaching staff, I need their expertise for the squad. I will try to find two or three people that will join us in the coming weeks, but due to Brexit, it’s not that easy.”

Talking of the squad, he stated emphatically that “there is enough players”, adding that he is “more than happy” with the players at the club and while there may be the possibility of January targets, he confessed that “winter is not the time for sustainable transfers”. Instead, he reiterated that “the major target for me in the next days and weeks is to bring more balance to the team”.

“It’s about winning games and, in the end, I’m very ambitious. We want to make the most successful season that is possible. Right now, we have to be realistic. The difference between us and the top three is big. But let’s see.

“It can only go game by game, step by step. You have to make sure you have the biggest chance to win the next game then step by step. Let the players follow and buy into the idea that I can offer them on how we want to play in the future.”

He revealed that as well as last night’s victory over Arsenal – for which he was in attendance for the first time and saw a controversial opening goal scored while David de Gea was down injured – he had closely watched the four previous Premier League games as well, adding: “I’m pretty well acquainted with what’s going on at the club.”

He then went on to reveal how he had a half-hour phone call with club chairman Joel Glazer, as well as Ole himself for almost two hours on Sunday, adding that “he was very generous, gave me his insight on the team.”

The questions then switched to the obvious discussion around Ronaldo, whose role under a new coach has been debated tirelessly as people continue to question whether he will adopt the pressing style his new manager is famed for. His answer was fairly definitive:

He also took the time to rubbish reports of bizarre clauses in his contract surrounding whether or not he manages to tempt the likes of Erling Haaland to join the club. Not only did he dismiss it entirely as “nonsense” but the sheer plethora of “top players in the offensive department” makes it sound like his focus would be at the other end, admitting that United concede too many goals.

He gave his say on the club’s recruitment in recent years too, stating that there has been “no continuity in signing new players and sticking to the DNA of the club.” He insisted that “In the future, the board members and myself have the same opinion. It’s important not to have many changes in management.”

As for his own role, which includes staying on within a consultancy type capacity, he once again said that he is more than open to the possibility of his interim coaching duties being extended beyond six months.

The former Stuttgart, Schalke, Hanover 96, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig coach will take charge of the Red Devils for the first time this Sunday as they return to Old Trafford once again to face Crystal Palace.

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