United confirmed on Monday that Rangnick would be the man to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the short term, and that the German would stay on at the club for two years after his coaching stint to offer consultancy to the club’s hierarchy.
Rangnick made his name in German football building clubs including Hoffenheim and RB Leizpig, and is credited with inspiring elite coaches such as Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, whom he will now face as rivals in the Premier League. The 63-year-old is famed for his distinctive style of play and has been dubbed the ‘godfather of gegenpressing’, a tactic which involves aggressively trying to win back possession after it is lost, a strategy Klopp has used to great effect at Liverpool.
There have been question marks around Rangnick’s suitability to get the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo, who returned to Old Trafford this summer, but in his first statement since being confirmed into the role, the manager complimented the squad’s talent as well as its “balance”.
“I am excited to be joining Manchester United and focused on making this a successful season for the club,” Rangnick said. “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.”
Manchester United’s football director, John Murtough, said: “Ralf is one of the most respected coaches and innovators in European football. 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.”
Rangnick could be in charge for Manchester United’s home game against Arsenal on Thursday, but if his work permit is not finalised in time then his first match will be the visit of Crystal Palace on Sunday.