Ralf Rangnick has claimed Manchester United can still make a success of this season after being confirmed as the club’s interim manager.
The 63-year-old has signed a deal to manage the team until the end of this campaign before taking on a consultancy role until 2024. He could be in charge for Arsenal’s visit on Thursday, subject to receiving a work permit.
Michael Carrick, who has overseen a Champions League win at Villarreal and a draw at Chelsea since replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjær, will remain at the helm until Rangnick’s clearance. Solskjær’s backroom team – Carrick, assistant Mike Phelan, coach Kieran McKenna and goalkeeping coach Richard Hartis – are expected to be retained, although the interim manager will bring in a small number of his own staff, including the video analyst Lars Kornetka.
United considered several candidates to replace Solskjær on a short-term basis but insist Rangnick, who signed a three-year contract as Lokomotiv Moscow’s head of sports and development only in July, was their preferred choice. The former Leipzig, Schalke and Hoffenheim manager impressed in an interview last week with the football director, John Murtough, technical director, Darren Fletcher, and executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, particularly on how he would implement his style of play.
United lie eighth, five points off fourth place and 12 behind the leaders, Chelsea, but despite this season’s toils Rangnick believes the squad can deliver vast improvement during his brief managerial stint.
“I am excited to be joining Manchester United and focused on making this a successful season for the club,” he said. “The squad is full of talent and has a great balance of youth and experience. All my efforts for the next six months will be on helping these players fulfil their potential, both individually and, most importantly, as a team. Beyond that, I look forward to supporting the club’s longer-term goals on a consultancy basis.”
United believe Rangnick’s experience in coaching and several leadership roles makes him ideally equipped to get the best out of their underachieving squad. Murtough, who spent time studying Rangnick at Leipzig in 2019, said: “Ralf is one of the most respected coaches and innovators in European football. He was our No 1 candidate for interim manager, reflecting the invaluable leadership and technical skills he will bring from almost four decades of experience in management and coaching. Everyone at the club is looking forward to working with him during the season ahead, and then for a further two years in his advisory role.”
Rangnick has not worked as a manager since holding the fort at Leipzig in the 2018-19 season while the club waited for Julian Nagelsmann. Paris Saint-Germain’s Mauricio Pochettino remains interested in taking the United job in the summer and would not be put off by Rangnick’s presence in a consultancy position.