Football: Manchester United appoint German Ralf Rangnick as interim manager

Ralf Rangnick has coached a number of clubs in Germany, enjoying great success. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Manchester United have named German Ralf Rangnick as interim manager until the end of the season, the Premier League club announced on Monday (Nov 29), eight days after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Rangnick steps in to replace Solskjaer, who was removed after United's 4-1 defeat by Watford this month, their seventh loss in 13 games across all competitions which left them eighth in the Premier League standings.

"Manchester United is delighted to announce the appointment of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager until the end of the season, subject to work visa requirements," the club said in a statement.

"Following this period, Ralf and the club have agreed that he will continue in a consultancy role for a further two years."

Former midfielder Michael Carrick, one of Solskjaer's assistants, took charge of the team for their Champions League victory at Villarreal last Tuesday, and oversaw the 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Sunday. He will remain in charge of the first team until Rangnick's visa is finalised.

Rangnick, who began coaching in the early 1980s, is a proponent of 'gegenpressing' - a style of football in which teams press high and use counter-pressing to win the ball back as soon as possible after losing it, rather than falling back to regroup.

"I'm excited to be joining United and focused on making this a successful season for the club," the 63-year-old 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."

Long-term success

United have been criticised for lacking consistency and a game plan under Solskjaer this season and their former defender and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville suggested that the appointment could lay the foundations for long-term success.

"Welcome to the greatest football club in the world Ralf Rangnick. A contract for six months to coach the team. A contract for two years to coach the club," he tweeted.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, meanwhile, believes Rangnick will leave no stone unturned to help the club and said that the German can have a massive impact in his short spell.

"I know him well. We had two successful years at RB Leipzig.

He was a sporting director and I took over (as coach) after he promoted the team in the Bundesliga," the Austrian told reporters ahead of Wednesday's Premier League clash against Leicester.

"I know how he is and how he works, he's a hard worker. He needs a very good team around him and then he will turn every stone around there, for sure, because he doesn't want any weakness in any part of his club.

"Half a year isn't so long to turn things around, to be honest. But especially in the beginning, he'll have a big impact at the club. I messaged to congratulate him, it's been his dream to be in the Premier League and now it's becoming real."

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."

Rangnick leaves a role as head of sport and development at Russian Premier League side Lokomotiv Moscow to take over at Old Trafford.

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.

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