EPL

Rangnick unsure what his own Man Utd future holds as he gives full backing to Ten Hag

By Sports Desk April 22, 2022

Ralf Rangnick has not yet discussed his Manchester United future beyond this season as the interim manager gave his full backing to successor Erik ten Hag.

United confirmed on Thursday that Ajax head coach Ten Hag will take over from Rangnick in the Old Trafford hotseat from the end of this season.

The Dutchman, who has a 73.8 per cent win rate across 210 games in charge of Ajax, will become the Red Devils' fifth permanent manager since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Ten Hag has won two KNVB Cups and two Eredivisie titles in his four full campaigns at Ajax, with the Dutch giants on the verge of finishing top of the table again this term.

And while Rangnick does not have a personal connection with Ten Hag, he is a fan of the 52-year-old's style of play.

"We don't know each other, we haven't met as yet in person," Rangnick said. "I knew that Erik was one of the candidates the board spoke to.

"Obviously I told them, at least from what I had seen and know from people who have worked with Erik, that I think he would be a good choice.

"From I've seen of him, both at Bayern Munich when he was the under 23 coach and at Ajax now, I like his football.

"I'm positive with a full pre-season, with having the chance to build and mould his own staff and also a new team, we will see a different team and an improvement on the pitch."

 

Rangnick was placed in charge of United until the end of the season following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November.

That deal included an agreement that would see the German stay on at United for a further two years in a consultancy position, but he is not sure if that remains the plan.

"We haven't had time to speak about that," Rangnick said when asked if he would be working behind the scenes next season.

Ten Hag will inherit a United squad that has gone five years without a trophy and with question marks surrounding the futures of many players.

Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani are out of contract, while Nemanja Matic has already confirmed he is moving on when his existing deal expires.

United are also expected to be busy in terms of incoming activity as part of a major rebuild, which Rangnick is happy to help out with if called upon.

"It's obvious there are quite a few players with their contracts expiring," Rangnick said. 

"There might be a few others who – although they have contracts – are already on loan and still want to be on loan or leave the club. 

"It will be a significant change and rebuild necessary, that's clear, but how many players and which positions, as I've said, I've not spoken to Erik in person yet. 

"If he asks me my opinion in person, I'm willing to speak to him about my experience, but on the other hand, he'll also have his own ideas."

In what has been another hugely underwhelming campaign for United, skipper Harry Maguire has come in for more criticism than most for his displays in defence.

That personal abuse spilled over on Wednesday when the defender and his family received a bomb threat, though no device was discovered in his house.

Maguire is expected to be in contention to start Saturday's Premier League trip to Arsenal and has been given the full backing of Rangnick.

"I haven't seen him yet because I only got to know about this terrible, terrible thing yesterday afternoon and since then I haven't been able to speak with him," Rangnick said.

"This is another bad sign of the crazy world we're living in and, obviously, I feel very sorry for Harry that he had that terrible experience. 

"He knows that we are all behind him, the club is behind him, everybody, the players, his team-mates. It's sad enough that crazy things like that happen."

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    Erik ten Hag admits he does not know whether or not he has managed Manchester United for the last time, after guiding the Red Devils to FA Cup glory.

    The Dutchman led his team out against Manchester City in a repeat of last year's final with his job reportedly on the line, regardless of the result ahead of the final at Wembley.

    Nevertheless, the Red Devils produced a spirited performance with first-half goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo eventually enough to secure a 2-1 win over their rivals.

    It provided a happy ending to a difficult season for United, in which they recorded their lowest Premier League finish of eighth, but still managed to snatch European football for next term.

    However, speculation and question marks continue to hang over the future of Ten Hag, who waved to United supporters during the team's lap of honour after collecting his second trophy in as many years at Old Trafford.

    But the former Ajax head coach remains tight-lipped on what will happen next.

    When asked if that was his last game in charge, he told BBC Sport. "I don't know. The only thing I can do is prepare my team, progress and develop my team and individual players.

    "This is a project. When I came in, it was a mess. We are better, but we are by far not where we want to be.

    "Football is about winning trophies. I want to play the best football. I want to play dynamic football, attacking football, but in the end, you have to win games and trophies. That is the mentality that we brought in.

    "We only had one opportunity this season – that was the FA Cup. We did it. I'm so very proud of the players and staff, who did an incredible job."

    Ten Hag could well suffer the same fate as compatriot Louis van Gaal, who was dismissed by the club after guiding them to FA Cup glory in 2016.

    The 54-year-old stated his belief that he and the team had been unfairly treated by the media over the course of the campaign, during which he felt injuries to key players severely hampered his side's progress.

    "I think so. The team, me as well – it was not right," he added. "We didn't have the players. It was not always good football, but we have had to make compromises all the time, then you can't play the football you want to play.

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    "All the compliments to the team. They have played very well, to our identity. You can see when we have the players on board, how we can play to our philosophy. Some of them are not even fit, or match fit.
     
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    "Always, when you have a local rivalry, it's much more important when you play against the other team from the city. But for us, it was not about this, it was more to prove a point after such a tough year.

    "With so many setbacks, the team showed so much resilience, and I'm very proud of them."

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    Pep Guardiola will not need to take extra motivation from Manchester City's FA Cup final loss to Manchester United.

    City's hopes of retaining their FA Cup crown, and securing a double for the 2023-24 season, were dashed at Wembley on Saturday, as United ran out 2-1 winners.

    Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo scored the goals as United stunned their neighbours, who had finished 31 points clear of the Red Devils in the Premier League.

    Jeremy Doku pulled one back late on but City became the first holders of the FA Cup to finish as runners-up in the following campaign since United in 2004-05, but Guardiola refuted the suggestion that his rivals' triumph would serve as additional motivation for his squad ahead of next season.

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    "The second half we were there. United are always a transition team, they have been for 10, 20, 30 years.

    "[In the ] first half we struggled a bit but second half we were better. In general it was a good performance for a final."

    Asked what he said to his players at full-time, Guardiola replied: "I congratulated all of them on another fantastic season.

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    Erik ten Hag wants people to be patient with Kobbie Mainoo, despite the Manchester United youngster quickly developing into a star.

    Mainoo's meteoric rise reached its highest peak yet as he netted in Saturday's FA Cup final against Manchester City, with his fine finish and Alejandro Garnacho's goal nine minutes prior ensuring United claimed a 2-1 victory over their rivals to lift the trophy.

    Mainoo, aged just 19 years and 36 days, was the first English teenager to find the back of the net in an FA Cup final since 1981, while he is also the youngest to do so since John Sissons for West Ham in 1964.

    Mainoo's cup final goal came in the same week he was named in Gareth Southgate's 33-man provisional squad for Euro 2024, and he looks a surefire bet to be on the plane to Germany next month.

    Yet, Ten Hag believes people mustn't expect too much, too soon from the midfielder.

    "I think we have to keep it calm," Ten Hag told the BBC. "You are very good here in England to push players and managers very high, and then you hammer them after one or two bad performances. I think we need to keep it very calm.

    "He was [magnificent]. It was really so enjoyable to watch Kobbie at his age.

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