EPL

'We will bring Manchester United back to the top' – Rangnick reveals Ten Hag talks ahead of final game as boss

By Sports Desk May 20, 2022

Ralf Rangnick has revealed he will meet with incoming Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag over the weekend as he looks to help the Red Devils rebuild after a frustrating campaign.

Rangnick will take charge of his final game at the United helm at Crystal Palace on Sunday, with the Old Trafford outfit only able to finish as high as sixth at the end of a poor Premier League season, while their major trophy drought will now stretch to five years.

Ten Hag will reportedly attend United's match at Selhurst Park, where the Red Devils need to win to guarantee they will not drop to seventh in the final standings, which would mark their joint-worst finish in the Premier League (alongside the 2013-14 season) and see them play Europa Conference League football next term.

Overseeing his final pre-match media conference as United's interim boss before taking on a consultancy role with the club, Rangnick revealed he has already been in contact with Ten Hag and will soon meet him in person to begin the process of overhauling the squad.

The former RB Leipzig director of football also reiterated his belief that United can return to the top of the English game within "two or three" transfer windows if they get their recruitment right.

"We've been in contact via WhatsApp, and hopefully I will have the opportunity to speak and meet in person either over the weekend or by Monday morning at the latest," Rangnick said.

"I'm looking forward to speaking with him in person and getting to know him.

"I still strongly believe that there is a core of players who are top, who are good enough to play for this club, and hopefully most of those players will still be here next season.

"As I said earlier on, if the board, Erik, the scouting department – and I will help them with all the issues that I can – If we can bring in the right mentality of players, the right quality of players, I'm positive that we will be able to bring this club, not only back on track but back to the top.

"This is what it's all about in the next couple of weeks, maybe it will not happen in one transfer window, but I'm very positive it can happen in the next two or three windows."

Rangnick was also asked whether he and Ten Hag had discussed the specifics of the German's new role at Old Trafford, and insisted his experience of recruiting young players could be key in the future.

"We spoke about that in detail, about all the different areas where I could be of help," he added. "It's not that difficult to know in which areas this could be.

"We showed in the last 15 years with [Rangnick's former clubs] Hoffenheim and with [RB] Salzburg and Leipzig, that even with clubs not as prominent as Manchester United, it's possible to identify and develop [young players], that this is possible.

"This is what is most important: that the club finds players for whom it is the next logical step in their career, to develop their sporting career. If that happens, I'm more than positive and I can also hopefully encourage our fans that we will bring Manchester United back to the top."

Meanwhile, Rangnick looked back upon his underwhelming six-month tenure at Old Trafford, claiming his side were on the right track until they fell to a 2-1 aggregate Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid in March.

Rangnick did, however, suggest a lack of team spirit and togetherness had plagued United since then, calling that his "biggest disappointment."

"I think we have to see it in different periods of time," he added. "I think that until we dropped out against Atletico – and this was a vital blow – I think since then we've lost confidence and energy in the team.

"Until then, I think we stabilised the team defensively, compared perhaps to the team that shipped four goals against Watford away [in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's final game in charge]. I think until that Atletico game, we were much more stable defensively, we also had a few games where we scored goals and played well.

"But what didn't happen was that this development happened in a sustainable way, so we couldn't keep that on a regular level, either we had problems scoring goals or to prevent goals being scored against us.

"I think since the Atletico game, we just didn't find our shape, our form, again. This has got to do with confidence, a little bit also with mentality, team spirit, togetherness, and we just fell short in those areas.

"This is, for me, the biggest disappointment, that we didn't manage to develop a certain team spirit that helped us even in the difficult moments of the games and the league, this happens also to other teams… this is, for me, the biggest issue in hindsight."

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