Ralf Rangnick has hinted he would consider staying in charge of Manchester United beyond the end of the season.
The new interim boss has been appointed to guide United through the remainder of this campaign after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He gave a first news conference as United boss on Friday morning and began to lay out a manifesto, while speaking of a long-held love affair with English football.
The 63-year-old accepts it will be difficult to make immediate changes because he is joining close to the halfway point in a season, and time on the training pitch between games is limited.
But the former RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim head coach feels he can make a difference at Old Trafford, and he is not ruling out the possibility of staying on for longer than is currently planned.
“The people with whom I’ve spoken so far, they have been very clear that we’re talking about a six-and-a-half-month role as a manager currently,” Rangnick said
“We have never spoken about what might happen in the summer. Right now I’m fully aware that they might be looking for a new manager.
“If they will then speak with me about that, we will see. Maybe if they ask me my opinion and everything goes well and we develop the team, I might even make the same recommendation to the board that I did at Leipzig twice, when I recommended to them that it might be a good idea to keep working with me for one year, but this is all hypothetical.
“For me now it’s about winning the next games, and this is the major focus.”
“If a club like Manchester United contacts you, you can’t turn it down,” says Ralf.
“The major target for me in the next days and weeks is to bring more balance to the team.” #MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 3, 2021
Rangnick was director of football at Leipzig when he put his name forward to be coach, meaning he already carried significant clout regarding such appointments.
He does not come into United with the same level of influence, and it came as a surprise when Rangnick indicated the two-year advisory role he will assume at the season’s end is far from a defined position.
Asked what the position would entail, and whether he might have an influence on the club’s academy, Rangnick said: “We haven’t spoken about that in detail in all the conversations we have had.”
Rangnick has been seen as a world-class strategist, a figure that many believe United have been crying out for given how many other clubs have such experienced figures in place.
Such discussions seem likely to occur once he has his feet under the desk, with Rangnick getting straight down to work on Friday by beginning preparations for Sunday’s home game with Crystal Palace.
There have already been talks between Rangnick and co-owner Joel Glazer, and the manager revealed he has spoken to Solskjaer too.
“I spoke with Ole last Sunday before the game against Chelsea,” Rangnick said.
“He was very generous to spend one and a half hours on the phone with me telling me all his inside details about the team.”
Rangnick will wait for the talks about his future and United’s plans to take place at a convenient time.
He has spoken to director of football John Murtough, but United are in no rush to pin down plans for the future while there is so much to focus on in the present.
“With all those people we haven’t spoken about what will happen in the next two years, from next summer until summer 2024,” Rangnick said. “We only spoke about the current situation and how we can find a way to work together.”
6 – Ralf Rangnick will become just the sixth German manager to coach in the Premier League, while two of the previous five rank in the top five for best win percentage in the competition’s history (Jürgen Klopp 62.7% and Thomas Tuchel 62.5% – min. 30 games). Revolution. pic.twitter.com/Wpsp9KP9Nv
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 29, 2021
He wanted Michael Carrick to stay on, but the caretaker manager walked away from United after Thursday’s 3-2 win over Arsenal.
“With Michael, I got to know this two days ago,” Rangnick said. “I had a long private conversation with him for more than an hour.
“I was trying to convince him to stay on board, but he’d obviously taken the decision weeks ago that he needed a break and a rest after 30 years in professional football. In the end I had to accept that, and I can also understand his decision.”
Rangnick said he may bring in up to three new members of staff, possibly before the end of December. But he dampened expectation of possible transfer window arrivals, saying: “We haven’t spoken about new players. Now is the time to get to know the current squad in detail.
“The squad is definitely not too small. Maybe at Christmas, after Christmas, there will be a time to speak about possible transfers in the winter.
“From my experience winter is not the best time for sustainable transfers. With this quality of players we have here, it would in theory only make sense if you really get players who can almost guarantee you more quality and this will be difficult in the winter.”