Manchester United appoint Ralf Rangnick as interim manager

German coach will be in charge until end of season before taking on consultancy role at club for further two years

Ralf Rangnick has taken over as interim manager of Manchester United. EPA

Manchester United have appointed Ralf Rangnick as interim manager until the end of the season.

The 63-year-old German coach takes over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the Norwegian was sacked following a 4-1 defeat at Watford. He will continue in a consultancy role at the Premier League club for a further two years.

Rangnick, who has left his role as head of sports and development at Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow, said: “I am excited to be joining Manchester United and focused on making this a successful season for the club.

“The squad is full of talent and has a great balance of youth and experience. All my efforts for the next six months will be on helping these players fulfil their potential, both individually and, most importantly, as a team.

“Beyond that, I look forward to supporting the club’s longer-term goals on a consultancy basis.”

Solsjkaer left the Old Trafford club after the disastrous defeat at Vicarage Road their seventh loss in 13 games across all competitions which left them eighth in the Premier League standings.

Rangnick has coached a number of clubs in Germany, enjoying great success. He achieved back-to-back promotions with Hoffenheim in 2006-07 and 2007-08 to get them into the German top flight for the first time.

He led Schalke to the German Cup in 2011, before helping establish RB Leipzig as a leading Bundesliga side during two spells as coach.

Rangnick enjoyed most success in his role as director of football at Leipzig, a position he fulfilled from 2012 to 2019. The club rose from the regional German fourth tier to competing in the Champions League during his reign.

“Ralf is one of the most respected coaches and innovators in European football,” United football director John Murtough said.

“He was our number one candidate for interim manager, reflecting the invaluable leadership and technical skills he will bring from almost four decades of experience in management and coaching.

“Everyone at the club is looking forward to working with him during the season ahead, and then for a further two years in his advisory role.”

First-team coach Michael Carrick has been in charge for the previous two games that has seen United win at Villarreal in the Champions League and then draw with Premier League leaders Chelsea on Sunday, when Cristiano Ronaldo was dropped from the starting XI. Carrick will remain in charge of the first team until Rangnick's work visa is finalised.

United, who are eighth with 18 points from 13 games, host Arsenal in the league on Thursday when Rangnick could be in charge for the first time, if his work permit issues are sorted out quickly.

Solskjaer, who scoring the winning goal for United in the 1999 Champions League final to complete a historic treble, was in charge for nearly three years.

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Under his leadership United finished in the Premier League top four in back-to-back seasons for the first time since Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013 but they failed to win their first silverware since 2017.

United can boast abundant riches in attack, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, Sancho, Marcus Greenwood and Anthony Martial all vying for starting spots. But their leaky defence has already conceded 22 goals in 13 games, more than four times Chelsea's total of five.

Rangnick has built an impressive coaching reputation during his time in Germany, with both Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and his Chelsea counterpart Thomas Tuchel speaking highly about their compatriot.

Klopp described his arrival in England as bad news for the rest of the Premier League. “United will be organised on the pitch, we should realise that, and that’s obviously not good news for other teams,” Klopp said.

“But all coaches in the world need time to train with our teams and Ralf will pretty quickly realise he has no time to train as they play all the time, so that makes it a bit tricky for him. Apart from that, a really good man and an outstanding coach.”

Tuchel praised Rangnick’s influence on German football. “For sure he is an elite manager,” Tuchel said. “He was one of the very first to implement a back four in Germany and introduce the style of not man-marking and still being aggressive, and was one of the pioneers to introduce a 4-4-2 and high pressing.

“Still he is one of the leaders of this development in German football so tactically for sure he is an elite coach.”

Updated: November 29th 2021, 2:19 PM