Manchester United will on Sunday begin a new era under the guidance of Ralf Rangnick who will try to rejig a side desperate to recapture old glory. A victory over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon should be able to put Man United faithful in the mood for what will come under the new manager and being who he is, Ragnick is experienced enough to manage expectations around his appointment and the 63-year-old will want to make a statement with Sunday’s game.
Club legend Michael Carrick has helped to transit the club from the troubled ending of the stint of erstwhile manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by securing two victories and a draw in the last three matches since he took over from the Norwegian as a caretaker coach.
The 3-2 win over Arsenal on Wednesday was quite a comfortable plank on which Ragnick can kick-start his revolution. The new helmsman is credited as the grandfather of modern German coaching and he is reputed as the inventor of gegenpressing, a football philosophy that has been popularised by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. He has influenced quite a number of coaches including Klopp and Chelsea Thomas Tuchel and despite not winning any trophy of note except the German Cup with Schalke in 2011, Manchester United quite represent a side where Ragnick can nick his first major silverware. He knows he can’t compare, in terms of titles won, with his protegee Klopp who has five major trophies under his belt, or Tuchel who has the same number of major silverwares.
The German also pales in comparison with Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola who has won a whopping 16 trophies – excluding his four League Cup medals with the Citizens. However, with a chance to manage one of the world’s biggest sides, the German can nurse the ambition of claiming his first major titles. His football philosophy is rooted in high-pressing, requiring a high work rate from his players, and the Red Devils players, many of whom were quite lethargic in Solskjaer’s last moment, could find their work cut out.
There have been talks about how a 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo will fit into such an energy-demanding, high tempo style, fuelling the suggestion the legendary Portuguese could endure a difficult time under the new manager. But in a press conference on Friday, the coach downplayed such insinuations when he said “You always have to adapt your style or your idea of football to the players you have available, not vice versa. “Having seen Cristiano yesterday in the second half at the age of 36, an amazing top professional. At his age, I’ve never seen a player who is still that physically fit.
He’s still a player who can easily make the difference. So yes, it’s about how we can develop the whole team, not only Cristiano. “We play in the most competitive league in the world, so we need all the players on board. What I saw from Cristiano yesterday, he is more than willing to do that, to put his input into the team. His teammates will have to do the same.” Although it is not expected that the German will solve every problem in floundering United overnight, the fans are desperate to have a glimpse into how life will be under their new manager when Crystal Palace visit Old Trafford on Sunday.