EPL

Rangnick era begins: What the new Man Utd boss said about Ronaldo, Haaland, Klopp and more

By Sports Desk December 03, 2021

Ralf Rangnick praised Cristiano Ronaldo, dismissed a theory he could cash in on any deal for Erling Haaland, and threw in the odd curveball during his first news conference as Manchester United interim manager.

It was a lively start in the job for Rangnick, who takes charge of United for the first time when they face Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

He faced questions from journalists for half an hour, giving media and fans an insight into what sort of a manager he may prove to be.

Here is a look at what the 63-year-old had to say on a wide range of topics:

THURSDAY'S ROLLER COASTER 3-2 WIN OVER ARSENAL

"You could see the potential that is in the team, but we have to do that more sustainably, to transfer the game away from our own box more into this area where we have our assets and our weapons in the team."

RONALDO BEING A KEY MAN IN HIS PLANS

"Having seen Cristiano yesterday in the second half, at the age of 36 he is an amazing, top professional. At his age, I've never seen a player who is still that physically fit. He's still a player who can easily make the difference. We play in the most competitive league in the world, so we need all the players on board. What I saw from Cristiano yesterday, he's more than willing to do that, to put his input into the team. The other team-mates will have to do the same."

FINDING THE RIGHT BLEND OF BRAIN AND BRAWN

"Of course it's train the brain. Modern football in the last 10 years has completely changed into a more physical, more athletic, more vertical, more high-speed ball game. If you watch games in early 2000s and compare it with now, you wouldn't believe it's the same ball game. It's completely changed, and in order to develop teams you need to not only train the bodies but also the brains."

LINKS TO ERLING HAALAND, AND RUMOURS OF A BONUS IF HE SIGNS THE DORTMUND STAR

"This is nonsense, obviously. Of course, there are no such clauses in my contract. It doesn't make sense now to have speculation about possible new players. Erling Haaland is a fantastic striker. I know it best myself because I was together with the people at Salzburg at the time [that Haaland played there] and I was also a little bit involved in the move from Molde to Salzburg, therefore I know what kind of player he is. In the meantime, the whole world has realised how good the player is. We have so many top players in the offensive department that we don't need to speak about any other players."

HIS LONG-RUNNING LOVE AFFAIR WITH ENGLISH FOOTBALL

"I studied English at university to become an English and PE teacher back in the late 70s, early 80s. I also lived in Brighton with a host family and at this time I fell in love with English football. In the early 80s I took the fast train from Brighton to Victoria Station and I watched every three days a home game in the old Highbury, in the old White Hart Lane or even in Liverpool – I went to Goodison Park. Since then, I have always very much cherished the way teams are supported and even yesterday, I think this is absolutely unique. You will find very, very few football clubs in the world with that much support. This is for me football in the purest sense, as it was in those times. It's more than exciting to now be part of that atmosphere."

HOW UNITED CAN PROGRESS UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP

"I think to gain control of games in the future it's got to do with playing proactively. You have to just make sure you have the biggest chance to win the next game, then step by step let the players participate, they have to go together with me. They have to follow not only my instructions, but they have to buy into the idea I can offer them how we should want to play in the future. This is what it's all about and it has to happen step by step."

HOW TO COMPETE WITH CHELSEA, MANCHESTER CITY AND LIVERPOOL

"If you look at the top three teams, they seem to be very stable and they have top coaches. If you see how they play and keep winning in style, controlling games, this is something that we have to develop. When, for example, Jurgen [Klopp] came to Liverpool and the squad he inherited at the time, I'm sure it was definitely not a better squad than the one I inherit now at Manchester United."

SLOWING DOWN UNITED'S TURNOVER OF MANAGERS

"There have been changes in management, about five or six managers since Sir Alex [Ferguson] left [in 2013], so it was difficult for the club to gain continuity with regard to signing new players, developing and sticking to the DNA of the club, and I think this is vital in modern football that you do that. For me, it's not that unusual that there were so many changes. For the future, and I think we have the same opinion, the board members and myself, it's important that this is developed in the future, that there will be not that many changes in management."

COULD THE INTERIM BECOME PERMANENT?

"We have never spoken about what might happen in the summer. Right now, I'm fully aware that they might be looking for a new manager. If they will then speak with me about that, we will see. Maybe if they ask me my opinion and everything goes well and we develop the team, I might even make the same recommendation to the board that I did at Leipzig twice, when I recommended to them that it might be a good idea to keep working with me [as coach] for one year, but this is all hypothetical."

Related items

  • Tuchel backs Gallagher and Hudson-Odoi to fight for minutes at Chelsea Tuchel backs Gallagher and Hudson-Odoi to fight for minutes at Chelsea

    Thomas Tuchel has backed Conor Gallagher and Callum Hudson-Odoi to fight their way into first-team contention at Chelsea. 

    However, the Blues boss was philosophical when asked whether either England international could leave in the transfer window, adding: "Nobody is for sale, and everybody is for sale."

    Gallagher appeared as a late substitute in Chelsea's opening-day Premier League win over Everton last week, while Hudson-Odoi was absent from the Blues' squad at Goodison Park.

    Both players have been linked with moves away due to the competition for places at Stamford Bridge, with Hudson-Odoi a reported target for Borussia Dortmund and Gallagher widely admired after racking up eight Premier League goals and three assists on loan at Crystal Palace last term.

    While Tuchel recognises N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic represent stern competition for Gallagher, he wants to see him realise his undoubted promise at Chelsea.

    "Conor fights in central midfield," Tuchel said ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Tottenham. "To be honest, it is a very tough fight for him because, at the moment, it seems we only have two places in central midfield. 

    "Given the amount of players we have for central midfield, it isn't ideal, I agree. But we have to do what's best for the squad, not just for each individual player.

    "But at the moment, he is absolutely fine. I am a huge fan of Conor. He is a fantastic guy, and this is what we already knew, in the first weeks of training, he has shown how much of a step he has made through having so much playing time.

    "It is a very, very normal situation and his development is that at the moment, after some fantastic training sessions in the beginning, there is a little dip in his form and freshness. 

    "On top of that, there's a huge competition with N'Golo, Jorgi and Kova, who are used to playing with each other. 

    "This is also life in a big club like Chelsea, so everything is in its right place. We are happy with him. He keeps on fighting, and this is what he does. I think he has everything to become very important in the next years at Chelsea."

    Hudson-Odoi has been linked with a move to the Bundesliga on several occasions, having only started 32 Premier League games for Chelsea since his 2018 debut, but Tuchel is also keen to hold onto him.

    "Callum is the same. He had a long-term injury and long-term problems to overcome," Tuchel said. "I think he still has a way to go to live up to his potential. His potential is huge. 

    "I think having Raheem [Sterling] in can give him an extra boost to step up and see what's needed in these kinds of positions to reach the levels he can honestly reach. 

    "But at the moment, he is our player, and he needs to fight, fight, fight. I have nothing more to say."

    But with over two weeks remaining in the transfer window, Tuchel refused to rule out a change in the club's strategy.

    "In general, nobody is for sale,", Tuchel added. "Nobody is for sale, and everybody is for sale. 

    "It depends on what the player wants, how bad the player wants it, what we think about who is ready to pay a certain amount of money, and then maybe everybody is for sale."

  • Premier League data dive: Man Utd hit 30-year low as outstanding Jesus downs Foxes Premier League data dive: Man Utd hit 30-year low as outstanding Jesus downs Foxes

    The second Saturday of the new Premier League campaign did not disappoint, serving up a thrilling comeback, a spectacular home debut and a familiar sinking feeling for Manchester United supporters.

    If last week's 2-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion represented a baptism of fire for Erik ten Hag, United's trip to Brentford provided further despair as the dismal Red Devils hit a 30-year low.

    There was more joy for rivals Manchester City as they cruised to a 4-0 win over Bournemouth, while Gabriel Jesus made good on his pre-season promise with a dominant performance against Leicester City.

    Here, Stats Perform trawls through Opta's data to bring you some of the best numbers from the day's Premier League action.

    Brentford 4-0 Manchester United: Ten Hag matches unwanted Chapman record against brilliant Bees

    Where do you start with this one? New United boss Ten Hag was left in no doubt regarding the side's problems when a Pascal Gross double sent them crashing to an opening-day defeat last week.

    But not even the most pessimistic United follower could have predicted their collapse in west London, as Ten Hag became the first Red Devils manager to lose his first two games at the helm since John Chapman in November 1921.

    Things got off to a dreadful start when David de Gea let Josh Dasilva's shot squirm into the net after 10 minutes; since the start of the 2018-19 season, only Jordan Pickford (11) has made more errors leading to Premier League goals than the Spaniard.

    Mathias Jensen, Ben Mee and Bryan Mbeumo joined Dasilva on the scoresheet by the 35th minute as Brentford scored with their first four shots on target, while Cristiano Ronaldo cut a dejected figure on his return to the United team.

    Only two teams had previously scored four first-half goals against United in a Premier League game; Tottenham in October 2020 and Liverpool in October 2021.

    The result is that United have begun a top-flight campaign with back-to-back defeats for the first time since 1992-93, the Premier League's inaugural season.

    And while the table has not quite taken shape two games in, United ended the day bottom of the Premier League for the first time since August 21, 1992.

    Arsenal 4-2 Leicester City: Miraculous home debut for Jesus

    Another side with Champions League ambitions has made a far brighter start to the Premier League season, as Mikel Arteta's Arsenal made it two consecutive wins with an entertaining victory over Leicester.

    Former Manchester City forward Jesus was hailed as a coup for the Gunners when he arrived in the off-season, and he enjoyed a home debut to remember by scoring two goals and adding two assists.

    In doing so, the Brazilian became the first player to score multiple goals on his home Premier League bow for Arsenal, as well as the first Gunners player to double up for goals and assists in a single league game since Theo Walcott against Newcastle in December 2012 (three goals, two assists).

    Before Jesus assisted compatriot Gabriel Martinelli for Arsenal's fourth goal, he became the 12th different Brazilian to score in the Premier League for Arsenal – the most of any side in the competition's history.

    Jesus was not the only player to impress, however, with Granit Xhaka both scoring and assisting in the same match for the first time in an Arsenal shirt, 252 games into his Gunners career.

    Leicester, meanwhile, were subjected to a familiar feeling of frustration in north London – this was the sixth time they have conceded at least four goals in a Premier League game against Arsenal.

    Manchester City 4-0 Bournemouth: Champions cruise despite quiet day for Haaland

    Home teams hitting four goals seemed to be a theme of the day, as Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions followed up a win at West Ham by cruising past Bournemouth.

    Scott Parker's team were likely not expecting a result at the Etihad Stadium; City have now won all 11 of their Premier League matches against Bournemouth, the best 100 per cent winning record against a particular team in the competition's history.

    A Jefferson Lerma own goal came after strikes from Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden, as the Cherries made it 17 league matches without a win against City in their history – the most one side has faced another without a victory in English league history.

    Kevin De Bruyne was at his creative best for City, scoring his 16th league goal since the start of last season before teeing up Foden's strike.

    The Belgian has both scored and assisted in 20 separate Premier League matches since his September 2015 debut. Only Mohamed Salah (24) and Son Heung-min (21) have done so on more occasions in that time.

    But while City were rampant, new talisman Haaland was quiet. The Norwegian only managed eight touches and two successful passes, but still managed to make an impact.

    One of Haaland's passes was from kick-off, the other teed up Gundogan to score the first goal.

    Southampton 2-2 Leeds United: Saints manage rare comeback as Aribo opens account

    Elsewhere, Jesse Marsch's Leeds failed to make it two wins from two as Southampton launched a stirring comeback on the south coast.

    Rodrigo was on the scoresheet in a win over Wolves last week before hitting a brace at St Marys, making him the first player to score three goals in Leeds' first two games of a Premier League season since Alan Smith in 2000-01.

    But Leeds could not hold on, failing to win after going two goals ahead for only the second time in their last 36 Premier League games, and for the first time in 14 such contests (since a 3-3 draw with Charlton Athletic in May 2004).

    Southampton have now avoided defeat in two of the last five Premier League games where they have gone two goals down (also a 2-2 draw against Brighton in April), but their love of a comeback is a new characteristic.

    Before April, the Saints had only managed one win and one draw from the last 58 Premier League games in which they went two goals behind.

    Joe Aribo represents one of their most impressive additions following his arrival from Rangers, and his goal made him the first Nigerian to score in the Premier League for Southampton, as well as the 38th in the competition's history overall.

  • Neville: It's a real achievement for Man Utd to spend a billion pounds and be this bad Neville: It's a real achievement for Man Utd to spend a billion pounds and be this bad

    Gary Neville was left furious by Manchester United's dismal display in the 4-0 drubbing by Brentford on Saturday, suggesting it is a "real achievement" to be as bad as they are with the money they have spent.

    Erik ten Hag's start to life in the Premier League has been abysmal, with a 4-0 loss in the capital leaving United rock-bottom of the Premier League.

    United crumbled in a woeful 35-minute spell, as Brentford took United apart and left the vultures circling following on from a defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford last weekend.

    With Liverpool next up in the Premier League, the situation looks bleak for United and, amid a struggle to land targets like Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong, Neville took aim at those in charge in a fiery tirade after the match.

    "Manchester United have known for eight to 10 months they've needed to rebuild the squad for the summer. Ralf Rangnick [last season's interim manager] described it as open-heart surgery," he told Sky Sports.

    "To not get the players in early – the quality of players, the number of players – that Ten Hag needed is baffling and difficult to forgive.

    "It's not a stalled market – teams have got their business done. Every club seems to have a plan and Manchester United's seems to be, 'Let's just look at the Dutch league or players that have worked under Ten Hag'.

    "That is not a strategy, you can't do that. That was 15 years ago. You've got to have players identified and the work's been done with the agents.

    "Yes, of course, you always try to please the manager if he has got a player he's got really good contacts with. But the one he has got good contacts with, they can't get in: Frenkie de Jong.

    "It's a real achievement to spend a billion pounds and be this bad. It doesn't take much to dismantle this Manchester United team. It just takes a bit of organisation, a bit of fight, and you're there. If you just rough them up a little bit and get a goal, they're flaky like you wouldn't believe."

    Back-to-back defeats to start the season has increased the pressure for United to land additional recruits before the close of the transfer window on September 1, but Neville fears it will be difficult to attract players.

    "United in the past have always answered the fans' anger through money and spending in the transfer market. The problem is that now, no one wants to take their money. That's a massive issue. They can't spend the money.

    "If you're a player watching that performance in the first half, what are you thinking about coming to this club?"

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.