The 2021-22 season has not improved for Manchester United and their supporters. The team lost 4-0 away to Brighton and Hove Albion in their penultimate match. Much of the blame was put on the players, with fans chanting, “You’re not fit to wear the shirt.”
Bruno Fernandes responds to Man United fans chanting ‘You don’t deserve to wear the shirt’ 😬 pic.twitter.com/KjRkGj0t6a
– ESPN FC (ESPNFC) May 7, 2022
They were lazy, lacking in spirit, and generally squiggly in their approach. However, finger must also be pointed at Ralph Rangnick who was a mixed character. The interim manager had some noteworthy results but United played tepid football in the other matches.
Ralph Rangnick thinks his players care after defeating Brighton 😳 pic.twitter.com/PFRrFkIJOO
– Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) May 8, 2022
The decision to appoint him following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has divided the fan base ever since. Is it the right call for the present or for stability in the future? The questions were endless.
The right decision with Ralph?
Ralph Rangnick would not want to witness the highlights of his time as interim manager. But did United miss a ploy by hiring him in the first place? It was definitely a left-wing movement. The Red Devils have been strongly linked with Antonio Conte, who left Inter last summer. Conte seemed to be the perfect man who could help turn the club’s fortunes around as he showed with the Nerazzurri.
Manchester United have decided not to pursue Antonio Conte after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and Mauricio Pochettino’s camp feels that more could have been done to secure his services. [@ChrisWheelerDM]
– United Zone (ManUnitedZone_) April 20 2022
However, the board went in a different direction by declaring Rangnick in charge until the end of the season. This is where things get fun and confusing. Rangnick has been credited with overseeing the transformation at Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga.
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He was a mentor to Jürgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, Ralph Hasenhuttl and others. Furthermore, Rangnick was called “Father GegenpressingAnd embraced the philosophy of domination over opponents.
👀 “When he signed up, a lot of people told me how great the date was. I had never heard of him!”
🔴 “I thought, if it was good, I would have heard of it.”
– talkSPORT (talkSPORT) January 3, 2022
In fact, there were many supporters who were happy with this “cultural” designation and are not in a hurry to sign a big name at the moment. There was real hope that Rangnick would be able to lead a more subtle and positive style of play that would evolve into a stable one. The reality wasn’t that great.
Players and tactics don’t mix
There was initial optimism about Rangnick as Manchester United appeared to have turned a new leaf. United did not lose a league game in December with three wins and a draw under Rangnick. In fact, January and February combined saw only one loss out of nine matches.
However, scoring remained a glaring problem as United scored just 20 goals from Rangnick’s appointment to February. The team was not playing great, but it was adapting due to moments of inspiration or the weakness of the opponents.
Erik Ten Hag will bring in players, but who really needs Manchester United?
Premier League table since Ralf Rangnick took charge:
🥇 Manchester City [34 points]🥈 Liverpool [29 points]🥉 Manchester United [26 points]
United Rangnick have lost only one league game since being appointed. 🔴 pic.twitter.com/2MY3xi2vtb
– StatmanDave March 2, 2022
Rangnick couldn’t do much sidelines as the players’ shoulders collapsed. He revealed that the team needs a major overhaul with several players unsuitable for their roles. Meanwhile, United will start to suffer losses against Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, Everton, Liverpool and Arsenal.
It was painful to watch the fans with the players not performing as expected. Bruno Fernandes seems to have lost the scoring touch and missed two penalties in crucial confrontations. Harry Maguire had a crisis of confidence with Marcus Rashford.
Rangnick on Cristiano Ronaldo’s future: “His attitude, he’s 37 – it’s not normal. If he plays like he did yesterday, he can still be a big help for this team” 🔴 #MUFC
“It’s Tin Hag’s decision and also Cristiano’s decision about what he can do next, but his performance was fantastic,” he told Sky. pic.twitter.com/JmPFUAgKvG
– Fabrizio Romano April 29, 2022
Cristiano Ronaldo was so cold that his work rate became a major talking point. The midfield was crossed in almost every game and Nemanja Matic had to cover at times. Therefore, it was not surprising that Rangnick could not do much in the face of such problems.
However, even his cultivation methods were under the scanner. There was little evidence of what he was teaching the players because they failed to withstand most opponents.
Ralph Rangnick was honest but what’s more?
Before the match against Brighton, Ralph Rangnick threw a big bombshell. The coach revealed that he pushed the club’s board of directors to sign a striker in January. This came against the background of the departure of Anthony Martial on loan, Mason Greenwood suspended and Edinson Cavani injuries for long periods.
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However, according to Rangnick, the council refused to sign, believing that there was no viable option.
Ralph Rangnick reveals his desire to get a new striker at Manchester United in January: “But the answer from the board was: ‘No.’ There was Luis Diaz, who is now at Liverpool; Julian Alvarez, who will be at Man City in the summer; and Wolhovic, who at that time was still with Fiorentina.” 🔴 #MUFC pic.twitter.com/gjV0FR0FCD
– Fabrizio Romano May 6 2022
It was clear from this exchange that the superiors did not want to disrupt the team before the arrival of a new permanent manager. Therefore, Eric Ten Hag is expected to have money to spend. Rangnick was clear that a complete overhaul of the current squad was needed. However, in his era, there was little shift in fortunes. He’s tried three in the back, five in the back, and two forwards, but nothing seems to work.
Rangnick has been out of range of running a team from the bunker for a long time and that may have taken its toll. United need to give Ten Hag the required time and it is dependent on Rangnick remaining in his advisory role.