Every word from Ralf's press conference

Monday 18 April 2022 14:31

Ralf Rangnick held a press conference on Monday afternoon, to preview his first game against Liverpool as Manchester United's interim manager.

The media briefing began with questions about the availability of some players, as he prepares his squad for the huge Premier League clash at Anfield this Tuesday night.

The journalists later moved on to discuss Rangnick's relationship with his compatriot, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, his knowledge of several players who were signed by the Merseysiders from German and Austrian clubs, and how fasting during Ramadan affects Paul Pogba.

Below is a full transcript of the first part. The second part will follow at 22:30 BST tonight (Monday).

We heard about Bruno Fernandes this morning. It sounds like everyone is okay. How is he, and is he going to be available tomorrow?
"Yes, he was training with the team. Obviously the accident happened on the way to Carrington. But as far as I know, nobody was injured. He trained with the team and he was okay, and that's why I think he will also be okay for tomorrow."

Did Raphael Varane train today and how is the rest of the squad looking?
"Rapha didn't train with the team. He was on the pitch with one of our rehab coaches but with regard to injured players, we have the same situation that we had in the last two games."
Part one: Ralf's press conference v Liverpool Video

Part one: Ralf's press conference v Liverpool

Watch part one of Ralf's press conference for the Premier League match at Liverpool, starting with an update on Bruno...

You mentioned on Saturday about the role that you played in quite a few of the Liverpool players' development. You've spoken about recruitment in the past. Is that the kind of depth of work into recruitment that you need because you've obviously made a point of signing these players before they've gone on to become the players that they are now at a different football club?
"Well I didn't say how much influence I had on those players but it's pretty obvious that a big club like Liverpool, one of the best clubs in Europe for the last couple of years, that they have six former players of ours, from either Schalke, Hoffenheim, Salzburg or Leipzig, so it's probably the highest number of players that nobody knew by the time we either signed them or gave them their debuts. This obviously has got to do with a similar idea of football and Jurgen and me have known each other for a long time. I know how he wants to play and having six players that used to play for former clubs of mine, as I said, is obviously not a coincidence."

In terms of Jurgen, there were lots of links with Manchester United when he was at Dortmund and clearly he has chosen to go to Liverpool. Is he the template, in a way, of what Manchester United should be looking for because he didn't go in and have immediate success. He was allowed to build something and now we've got what we have now...
"Yes, I think we have spoken about that earlier on and the same happened at other clubs, when he came to Borussia Dortmund or even when he started his coaching career at Mainz. He developed all those clubs and raised the whole club, not only the team, on a different kind of level and that is what modern management is all about. He's no doubt one of the best, if not the best coach, not only now but also in the past couple of years. As I said, if this should be a role model, I don't know but it's definitely, again, no coincidence what has happened there in the last six years. I think, in his first year, when he came during the season after eight or nine games, they finished eighth at the end with a points average of 1.6. Thereafter they just made the necessary adaptations. They brought in the right players, they got rid of the right players. They just built, they really built a squad, and that's why they are where they are."
Liverpool have just come through a very intense period and it continues for them. Will that be a factor at all in the game tomorrow?
"Well, it's up to us. We definitely will travel there tomorrow and try to get the three points. This is what it's all about and it's not about the situation they are in. It's about our situation only and after last weekend's results, we are still in the race for no.4 but in order to stay in that race, we have to win almost every game, starting with tomorrow. Although we might be the underdogs for most people, we still know that if we raise our level, if we play a top performance ourselves, that we have a chance to get three points there and this will be our ambition and our goal for tomorrow."

As the search continues for a new manager, what's your understanding of the time frame that lies ahead in terms of appointments?
"I don't know. This is an issue for the club and the board and as soon as there is something to announce, I am pretty sure the club will make that announcement. But right now that doesn't affect our preparation for games like tomorrow or the game on Saturday. We are fully aware that out of those six games, we need probably almost maximum points but definitely as many as possible. You can see other teams are dropping points over the weekend and the last couple of weeks. So again this is about just being consistent and at the end the team who will probably finish fourth will be the team who is most committed to that."

Last year, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was reluctant to play Paul Pogba in a game against Leeds because he was fasting due to Ramadan. With the late kick-off tomorrow, will there be any plans to have a break partway through the game so Pogba can break his fast and eat?
"No, I don't see that. As a player and as a professional, he's used to that and he knows how to handle that and to deal with that. Actually, I haven't spoken with him about that but I don't think this will affect his game and his performance."

How to follow Liverpool v United


Ralf Rangnick's men head to Anfield with the aim of getting even closer to the Premier League's top four.

Do you know if he is fasting at all?
"He is fasting, yes, but as I said, I haven't spoken about that with him in person. But I've had quite a few other players [who observe Ramadan]. I also know at least one player of Liverpool, he used to be my player, who is also doing the Ramadan, Ibrahim Konate, so he would also have the same problem."

Is the fact that Paul Pogba is fasting affect your substitution time against Norwich, to take him off partway through the second half?
"No, I just felt it was the right time to bring on fresh legs and fresh players. It also had to do with the score at the time but I didn't think about Ramadan or something like that."

You obviously got the win against Norwich but you explained afterwards, there were some areas you weren't happy with. You haven't had time to tweak and change, and you suggested Fred and Scott McTominay aren't back, so how do you add that aggression and get the composition right?
"Well as I said after the game, we just need to be more compact and we need to find a better balance of what can we do in possession of the ball and what do we need to do in order to defend our own goal. For sure, we need to be more compact and more aggressive, more on the front front but still make sure we have all of the players behind the ball and this is what we need to show tomorrow, against a team who is probably one of the best, if not the best, in producing chances and creating moments in which they can be dangerous in and around the box. We need to be at our very, very best defensively but still have a formation and a line-up and an approach to the game where we can be dangerous ourselves."