EPL

Rangnick considers pressing non-negotiable as he reveals Cavani is set to stay

By Sports Desk January 10, 2022

Manchester United players have been told by interim manager Ralf Rangnick that embracing his ideas on pressing is the "only way" they can compete in the Premier League.

Rangnick was hired last month until the end of the season, at which point he will move into a consultancy position.

His appointment was initially praised as evidence United were attempting to modernise as a club, implementing a brand of football and identity that has been so successful elsewhere.

Rangnick had been deemed the so-called "godfather of gegenpressing" and was seen by many as a shrewd hire given his reputation of developing clubs in the past both as a coach and a director.

But, even though United have only lost one of his six matches, their performances have left a lot to be desired, and the idea of a collective and concerted pressing effort appears to remain foreign.

 

Prior to Rangnick's first game, United averaged 7.6 high turnovers per game in the Premier League – in his first two matches they recorded 12 and 11, respectively.

A trend emerged there, as the only occasion this season United had previously recorded more than 12 (13) was in Michael Carrick's first match against Chelsea. It would seem to be the classic 'new manager bounce' as they soon fell back into their old ways.

United's high turnover average under Rangnick remains virtually identical (7.6) to what it was before, suggesting the German's ideas in that regard simply are not getting across.

 

"This is the only way we can compete in this league and at that level," Rangnick told reporters on the subject of pressing ahead of Monday's FA Cup clash with Aston Villa.

"Whenever you watch games, even if it's not the top teams, they play with intensity, they play with physicality, they play with energy and they sprint. This is what we have to do. We have to develop into this kind of team.

"As I said after the first game against Crystal Palace, we showed at least in the first half a lot of those things and it's about implementing this into the team in a sustainable way. This is our job.

"We have to do it together with the players and we have, obviously, to develop the players, identify for each game, the players who are willing and able to do that and to deliver exactly what we spoke about.

"I've only been here now for five weeks. Yes, the pressure is on at a club like Manchester United. I'm pretty sure that the players are aware of that.

"In the end, it's still about showing up when we play in front of 75,000, and we showed that against Burnley. We also showed it against Crystal Palace.

"The team is able to dominate games, to win games. Both games against Burnley and Palace, that was the case and this is exactly what we have to achieve in the next weeks to help the team develop into a dominating team.

"This can only be done in possession and out of possession they do things together."

One player who was initially deemed a good fit for Rangnick's system was Edinson Cavani, given his work rate and application when on the pitch.

While he is the only United forward among those to feature for Rangnick yet to record a recovery in the final third, the manager believes the Uruguayan can have a big impact over the remainder of the season after committing to staying until June despite apparent interest from Barcelona.

"I told him that if it was up to me I would want him to stay and I had a conversation with him," Rangnick added.

"He came to my office and we spoke for almost half an hour and he told me that he will definitely stay, he will want to stay until the end of the season.

"Not only because I told him that he should stay or has to stay, but he did it on his own behalf. He told me that I can rely on him to stay until the end of the season and give his very best, be a role model for the young players.

"He's available and he's happy to play. Even if he's not playing, he will be trying to be the best possible role model for the other players.

"This is, for me, good news because Edi is one of those players – with his vast amount of experience, his mentality, his work ethic – who could really be a perfect role model for all the other players."

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