Rangnick's press conference: Part two

Friday 10 December 2021 22:30

Manchester United's interim boss Ralf Rangnick held a pre-match press conference in two parts, as he previewed his side's trip to face Norwich City.

The German will oversee his third match in charge of the Reds since his appointment at the end of last month, and will be bidding to make it two wins from two in the Premier League.

After Rangnick opted to rotate the squad for Wednesday evening's Champions League game at Old Trafford, members of the media quizzed the United boss on Paul Pogba, the new additions to his coaching staff and also the upcoming January transfer window. 

Below are all of the questions posed to him, and his answers, as the build-up continues ahead of this weekend's encounter...

Norwich (a): Part 2 of Ralf's press conference Video

Norwich (a): Part 2 of Ralf's press conference

The subject of Paul Pogba dominates the second part of Ralf's press conference, as you can see here...

Hi Ralf, just coming back to Paul Pogba, how much are you looking forward to working with him and what position do you see him playing in?
''I am very much looking forward to working with him as I am with any of the other players, as far as I know. I need to get to know him to better understand his best possible position. I also need to speak with him and also it's about him being fully physically fit. When we played against Palace, that is the way we want to build on and play like for the next couple of games, including tomorrow’s game. It's intense, high intensity, positional movements we need to be forwards and backwards and to be forward thinking within the game. We also saw that style against Young Boys, the first half-hour was okay, maybe not that good, but then we were struggling in the second half. Once again I want to say thank you to the fans, they backed the team for the whole 90 minutes. Although it was very much an experimental team, we knew that from the beginning, but the fans reacted and they were amazing, outstanding in fact. They supported the players and once again this is something that we have to thank our supporters for. Coming back too Paul, yes, it will take some time as I said to get fully fit, he will get that time to get fully fit and once he is fully fit we will see. What I’ve seen from him so far, I see him as a midfielder rather than a striker or a left winger, but again, once I get to know him once he’s fully fit, we can assess which position will be the best for him.''

Just again on Paul Pogba, basically for United he can be absolutely brilliant, world class, then on other occasions he can be let’s say, uneven, not quite as good. Whereas for France, the view is that he is always brilliant, so why might that be? Why is there a difference for United in your experience?
''To be honest I can’t answer that question because I don’t know exactly what or where he’s exactly being asked to play. If he plays for the French national team, the only thing that is of interest to me is how do we get him fully fit. If he is fully fit, in which position can he play for us. Those are the only questions that are of interest to me. Again, now he is still injured, once he is back in training or even up to the level of fully playing, as he probably won’t be for the next three months, nobody can expect of him after one or two training weeks to be fully fit for our style of football.''

When you look at the make-up of your squad, is it as good as any squad in the Premier League? Is it just going to take you time to show that to everyone?
''Again it is too early to say that. I know most of the other Premier League squads only from watching them on TV, I haven’t played against them directly. I’m happy with the players I have currently, I’m also happy with the performance they showed last Sunday, now it’s about developing, learning by doing. Right now, we must let that happen on the pitch in games, because there is not that much training time in-between. This is what we must try to do, to try and develop the team, get better with every game we play, produce as many clean sheets as we can and also, as I said earlier on, with the group of players we have, we will always be able to score lots of goals. I’m not worried about that at all. It is all about making sure that we get as many clean sheets as we can get.''

Cavani in contention for Norwich


Ralf Rangnick provides us with the latest on Edi, Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial.

On Paul Pogba again, he is now entering the final few months of his contract, so how much of a role can you play in keeping him at the club? Are you one of these coaches who has the view that, if a player doesn’t want to stay, he is not worth keeping?
''I wouldn’t say not worth keeping but of course, players have to want to play and stay at the club. Also for a big club like Manchester United, if a player does not want to play for a club like this in the long term, I don’t think it makes sense to change his mind. This is such a massive club, with fantastic support from the supporters, I don’t think that anyone in the club would ever need convincing to stay here. But on the other hand let's wait and see, I have spoken with him for 15 minutes over the phone and my feeling is let’s get him back, training with the team, getting him fit and then we will see where we stand. He can be an important player, but I am fully aware of all the other players we have here, I am also a coach of all the other players too. My ambition is of course to make them better and that includes each and every player. This is then only possible by improving the whole performance of the team. It is impossible to develop every single player without the team being successful and also developing the team in a sustainable way.''

Chris Armas is to come in as an assistant, a role which Mike Phelan has done until now. Does that mean Mike’s role will change?
''Since Michael Carrick is no longer here we needed somebody else to replace him. Chris Armas will become one of two assistant coaches now, together with Kieran [McKenna]. Two of them will help me to prepare training, to discuss video footage together with Paul [Brand]. Mike Phelan does not watch the training sessions, he also did not do that when Ole was in charge, but he is also part of the training group. He is not on the pitch when we train, Chris will not come in and replace anybody, but more fill in for the gap left by Michael Carrick.''

You have said over the past week that the January window is a particularly tough one ordinarily. If there was an opportunity to bring a player in, is it fair to say that it would be a defensive midfielder or a holding midfield player you would look at?
''My opinion on winter transfers is clear. It needs to be a player that improves the whole team. It needs to be a high quality player, no matter what area of the pitch. If it’s a midfielder or whatever it is, it needs to be a player that really helps us to get better. On the other hand it needs to be a player that can perhaps move in the winter, then discussions can begin to be made. But only then if those two things come together will it serve us well. We also need, for this competitive league, to have the best possible mentality. They need to be mature and have a built-in winning mentality. For me, mentality is even more crucial than anything league in the world.''

You have mentioned Paul is away doing rehab in Dubai. How happy are you in principle to have players doing their rehab away from the club?
''I cannot answer that question right now. At my former clubs I always tried to ensure that we had the player here so that the rehab can take place in-house. So far as I can tell the medical department is really good, very good with many different approaches towards rehab. I would personally not want players to do their rehab abroad, but I said the decision on Paul [Pogba] was taken before I arrived. In the future I have already spoken to the medical team and I want players to stay here and not go elsewhere.''

What is your take on the winter scheduling here in England? Often when new managers arrive, they are surprised at the busy festive period in the Premier League.
''It is a new one to me. It is the first time I have worked in England and elsewhere in Germany we used to have a longer winter break, about three to four weeks, until a couple of years ago when that was changed to a short break of just two weeks. The Christmas holidays are obviously shortened and you don’t have much time, maybe just one to two days between training and a game. For example we play Newcastle on the 27th, so this is a new experience for me. Obviously the players are more used to it as most of them are used to the demands of the Premier League. For us it’s about striking the right balance between recovery and preparing the gaps then to the next game so soon after.''