EPL

Carrick fully focused on Chelsea as Man Utd close in on Rangnick

By Sports Desk November 25, 2021

Michael Carrick insists he is fully focused on preparing Manchester United for Sunday's game against Chelsea, with the Red Devils reportedly on the brink of appointing Ralf Rangnick.

According to reports, the 63-year-old is set to take over the reins at Old Trafford as interim manager for the remainder of this season, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having been dismissed after last weekend's 4-1 defeat at Watford.

The Red Devils are believed to have agreed terms with Rangnick and Lokomotiv Moscow, where he is serving as their head of sports and development.

Carrick, who was assistant to Solskjaer, oversaw United's 2-0 win over Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday, and will remain in charge for this weekend's showdown with Premier League leaders Chelsea.

And the former midfielder, who played over 450 times and won five Premier League titles at Old Trafford, has his sights firmly set on the trip to Stamford Bridge.

"My future is the next two or three days – that's as far as I'm prepared to look," he said. "That's the right way to go about it. 

"Football is that type of business – you never know what's around the corner at the best of times. All my energy is on Sunday.

"I'll control what I can control. How do I prepare the team for the next game? Everything else is not for me to worry about or get involved with."

"I'm literally just looking at this next game, a huge game. Whatever happens after that we'll have to wait and see.

"I didn't put myself in this position, but to be involved in a big game like this – as a player or coach – it's a hugely challenging game. 

“Playing against Chelsea, they were always our big rivals when I first got here. I've got a history with them, but we thrive on that competition."

Rangnick's first game at the helm would be the home Premier League clash with Arsenal next week.

The German has managed five clubs in the Bundesliga and guided Schalke to a second-place finish in 2004-05.

He also steered them to glory in the DFB-Pokal six years later, as well as the Champions League semi-finals.

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    Ralf Rangnick has been confirmed as interim manager of Manchester United, meaning that thoughts can now turn to more important matters.

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    While the 63-year-old is only set to be in the dugout until the end of the season, his deal includes a further two years in a "consultancy" role, meaning he will presumably have a say on comings and goings at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future.

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    Gleison Bremer (Torino)

    The Brazilian centre back has predominantly been linked with other clubs, including Liverpool, but his ability to win the ball high up the field as well as make interceptions regularly could make him an attractive prospect for Rangnick's pressing style.

    Bremer has the most interceptions for a defender in the top five European leagues this season (51), and since the start of last season has made 121, which is almost twice as many as Harry Maguire (68) from just one more game played.

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    Aurelien Tchouameni (Monaco)

    Despite their pre-season spending, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was unable to cross a defensive midfielder off his shopping list, with poor Scott McTominay and Fred continuing to be castigated by fans and pundits for not being Declan Rice.

    Someone else who isn't Declan Rice is Tchouameni. The Monaco midfielder has been linked with a move to the Premier League for a couple of years now, and this could be the ideal club at the ideal time.

    Of players to have played at least 40 games, only three midfielders in the top five European leagues have won possession in the middle third more often since the start of last season, while only five have made more interceptions, and only Frenkie de Jong (64.36) has a higher duel success percentage than his 62.06.

    During his time recruiting for Red Bull Salzburg and Leipzig, Rangnick primarily focused on young players who can grow in the immediate term. Tchouameni turns 22 in January, and with Monaco missing out on Champions League football after losing in qualifying in August, they may be tempted to cash in on their star sooner rather than later.

     

    Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig)

    it was always inevitable that United would be linked with Leipzig players, so here's the first of two.

    The new United boss will no doubt be familiar with Haidara, with the midfielder making his way through the Red Bull route of FC Liefering and Salzburg before Leipzig.

    The Mali international arrived at the Red Bull Arena when Rangnick was in charge in the 2018-19 season, but due to a cruciate ligament injury, was only able to make nine Bundesliga appearances under the German.

    Comparing him to McTominay and Fred, this season he has more chances created (9), more successful passes in the opposition half (317), more passes into the final third (95) and more dribbles completed (16).

    It should be noted though that he has played two games more than McTominay and measures closely to the Scot in the first and last metric, with worse passing accuracy percentage in the opposition half (78.86) and tackle success percentage than both (38.46).

     

    Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig)

    Olmo has unfortunately missed most of the current season with a muscle injury, but combined with last term, there is a certain number that may interest the Red Devils boss.

    Verona's Antonin Barak is the only midfielder to have won possession in the final third more often than Olmo's total of 44 in the top five leagues in Europe since the start of last season, made all the more impressive by the fact Olmo has played 12 fewer games.

    The 23-year-old scored seven and assisted 12 last season for Leipzig in all competitions, and also impressed for Spain at Euro 2020, and having someone who so regularly wins the ball high up the field could be exactly the sort of thing Rangnick can build a new United team around.

     

    Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

    Arguably the name likeliest to be linked with the Red Devils given it was Rangnick who apparently spotted his talents and brought him to Salzburg, before he burst onto the scene and headed for the German Bundesliga.

    Rangnick was working as Salzburg's director of football when he was able to secure the signing of Haaland from Molde.

    Of course, United already have Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani, but both are hardly long-term solutions, while Haaland's former team-mate Jadon Sancho already resides in the red half of Manchester.

    The 21-year-old has scored 71 goals in 70 games since moving to Dortmund (January 2020), the same amount as Ronaldo but in 15 fewer games.

    You would imagine Haaland, his agent and his father would need to see some fairly drastic improvements at Old Trafford before committing his future there, but with Rangnick on board, the Red Devils will be hoping that to be exactly what happens.

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