When Manchester United fired Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and hired Ralf Rangnick as an interim manager in November 2021, they hoped to repeat the success Chelsea had in the eleven months before.
In January of last year, the southwest London club fired their beloved club legend but inexperienced and struggling manager, Frank Lampard, and hired a respected German manager, Thomas Tuchel, to take his place.
When Tuchel took over, Chelsea was ninth in the table and had only won two of their last eight games. He then became the first manager in the club’s history to go 13 games without losing.
This helped Chelsea move up to the fourth place and qualify for the Champions League. It also got them to the FA Cup final, where they lost to Leicester City at Wembley.
But Tuchel’s biggest success was leading Chelsea past Atletico Madrid, Porto, and Real Madrid in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Chelsea then won the title by beating Manchester City 1-0 in the final in Porto.
This season, Tuchel hasn’t been able to do as well, but Chelsea will still finish in the top four and have made it to both the League Cup and FA Cup finals.
Ralf Rangnick has been a disaster:
This week, at Chelsea’s last home game against Leicester City, their fans raised a banner with Tuchel’s picture and the words “German Maestro” to honor him.
When it came time to replace Solskjer, United couldn’t help but think of Tuchel’s quick success at Chelsea and hope that Rangnick could do the same at Old Trafford.
To say that hasn’t happened would be a huge understatement because United didn’t get better at all while Rangnick was in charge. In fact, they got much worse.
Rangnick was called a coaching genius, the godfather of gegenpressing, and the model for Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, and Julian Nagelsmann, who would give the team new structure and motivation and save United’s season.
This didn’t happen, and Rangnick will leave United as their worst manager since Frank O’Farrell’s short time in charge in the early 1970s.
United’s last game of the season is on Sunday against Crystal Palace. Rangnick has a terrible record with only 11 wins out of 28 games.
This gives Rangnick a winning percentage of 39.29%, which is much lower than all of Sir Alex Ferguson’s replacements since 2013: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (54.17%), Jose Mourinho (58.33%), Louis van Gaal (52.43%), and David Moyes (52.94%).
The German has been in charge of a mess. United will either finish sixth or seventh in the Premier League, and they were knocked out of both the FA Cup and the Champions League by teams from lower leagues.
By late spring, all United had to play for was a spot in the top four and a spot in the Champions League the following season. However, they didn’t show any interest, fight, or commitment, and they quickly fell off the table as Arsenal and Tottenham fought it out.
Any manager who takes over a struggling team in the middle of the season needs to get the players excited, give them new ideas, and give them a new purpose. Rangnick failed to do any of these things. He said it himself this week: “My biggest regret is that we didn’t get that team spirit going.”
The players must share some of the blame, but it was Rangnick’s job to get them to want to play for him, and they never showed the slightest interest.
When United started games poorly or fell behind by a goal, Rangnick looked lost on the sidelines, unable to get his players fired up.
Rangnick’s professional pride was hurt by the recent losses to Everton, Liverpool, and Brighton because the players gave up. It was much worse than just playing badly because they weren’t even trying.
When United lost 4-0 to Brighton two weeks ago, their fans chanted at the players, “You’re not fit to wear the shirt.” No one could remember a time when these loyal fans turned against the players in this way.
Rangnick has been known for a long time as a great coach, but he was also unable to give his players any clear structure. He was known for pressing, but his United team almost never pressed. The only time they did was in their first game against Crystal Palace in December.
Rangnick has said about pressing, “We just found out that it was hard.” “We didn’t have a preseason, so we couldn’t really get stronger and help the team get better.” “I am the one who is most upset and angry about what happened.
Rangnick and his coaches, Chris Armas and Ewan Sharp, couldn’t get this United team to buy into their ideas and methods, as the team continued to look disjointed after they got there.
Even though Solskjaer was criticized, some United players liked the sessions that his coaches Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna put together for them.
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