Martin Keown explains why Ralf Rangnick has not managed to improve Manchester United
Expectations were massive from the German mastermind when he was appointed the Red Devils’ interim manager. However, it hasn’t quite worked out for Manchester United under the 63-year-old.
Arsenal legend Keown has delivered his opinion on why the appointment has not worked for the 20-time English champions.
Keown reckons that Manchester United simply do not have the right players to play in the high-pressing system that Rangnick demands. As per Keown, Rangnick’s failure to play to the strength of his squad is the reason why the Red Devils have not produced results under him.
In his column for The Daily Mail, the former Gunners centre-back wrote:
“Ralf Rangnick’s interim stint hasn’t worked out. His coaching philosophy is similar to Jurgen Klopp’s. Rangnick believes pressing high up the pitch is the best way to win and there were articles lauding him as the ‘godfather of gegenpressing’ when he arrived.
“But United simply do not have the players to play that way. Liverpool have bought meticulously and with Klopp’s style of play in mind. Luis Diaz is the latest example of this; his seamless introduction into the team being testament to the club’s homework.”United have instead targeted creative players over the years, with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba more noted for their flair rather than their pressing. But Rangnick arrived hell-bent on imposing his own footballing beliefs on to this group and failed to recognise the strengths and weaknesses of the squad.”
Keown has insisted that things initially worked out for Rangnick but the team couldn’t sustain the momentum as the players weren’t suited to his system.
“Failing to adjust the style of play to a squad’s strengths is as big a cardinal sin a manager can make.”He wanted to implement his high-pressing approach and it looked promising in his first match in charge — a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace in which United won possession 12 times in the final third, their highest total in any game this season.”But it wasn’t sustainable. This isn’t a team of pressers. This isn’t a group with that defensive instinct, that desire to work hard and be organised and track back and take the ball.”
Can Erik ten Hag fire Manchester United back to their glory days?
While Erik ten Hag‘s philosophy is not exactly similar to that of Ralf Rangnick, the Dutchman also does not have the right set of players for his system. The 52-year-old is a manager who likes his team to play possession-oriented football and press in an organized manner.
It will take time for the now-Ajax manager to incorporate his tactics at Old Trafford. He will also need to sign the type of players that would suit his system. Manchester United must show patience with the Dutchman and not demand results rightaway.