Every word from Ralf's press conference: part two

Wednesday 27 April 2022 22:30

Ralf Rangnick fielded journalists' questions about his future at the club, the fans, player recruitment and more in the second part of his pre-match press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Here's everything Manchester United's interim manager had to say...

May I just ask then, just from your last comment about Erik [ten Hag], does that mean you will be here next season? Because you did say last week ‘there’s one thing having a contract, but it’s whether he wants you to be here’, so does your last comment then suggest you feel like you might be here next season?
“Yeah, I am looking forward to working in that advisory role and obviously help Erik as much as he wants it himself. So far, we haven’t been able to speak with each other, we have had no contact. He has his focus on Ajax, I have my focus on Manchester United here. Obviously, I am more than willing and prepared to help both Erik and whomever in the club in order to change everything for the better.”

Ralf, at the last home against Norwich, there was quite a strong negative reaction to the players at one point. Obviously since then there’s been two poor results. Are the players going to have to prepare for the fact that tomorrow there may be something similar from the fans towards them?
“I hope not and I think in both away games the fans have still been supporting the team and also against Norwich. There was that one issue with Paul Pogba but apart from that I think the supporters were great in the game against Norwich. I hope and I also expect our supporters to be behind the team and supporting the team tomorrow.”
Part two: Ralf’s press conference v Chelsea Video

Part two: Ralf’s press conference v Chelsea

The second half of Ralf's briefing ahead of Chelsea’s visit sees him address injuries, contracts and European football…

You mentioned, Ralf, a couple of weeks ago about the volume of injuries the club has had and if you compare it to [Manchester] City and Liverpool who are able to keep their players constantly fit despite challenging for all these trophies. Do you expect some sort of thorough review to be done at the end of the season or is that in motion now to look at why it’s happening, what’s going to change and to ensure the club going is much more able to… because you’ve got so many what would be first-choice players [absent] there…
“To start with, the club has a top medical department, this is something I can say after the last four and a half, five and a half months. The medical department, including the whole staff in charge of physical training, they are top so there is not nothing that needs to be put under scrutiny there, but obviously if we have seven outfield players missing tomorrow, seven outfield players, this is not a good thing at this part of the season that this happens. But as I said, it also has to be questioned why does it happen? Is there any space for improvement? But it’s definitely not got anything to do with the quality of people and the motivation of the staff in that area. The staff is top, they are all doing a great job here.”

Ralf, I think you said last week that you didn’t have any great regrets about taking on this role, but is there any part of you that feels that your reputation has been damaged slightly with the way things have gone here, your standing, or do you feel like you’ve done everything you can?
“I think I tried everything I can but this does not necessarily mean that I think we have done everything right obviously. Everybody has to question himself, the players, the staff, myself, what could we have done better in the past. This is part of our job and everybody has to be self-critical enough to do that, but as I said that, until four/five weeks ago, we still had all the chances to qualify for the Champions League. The results in the last four games, they were just not as good as we would have hoped for.”
And you said after the Liverpool game that you were six years behind them. Looking at last night’s game between Man City and Real Madrid and the quality of those two teams, does that underline how far this club has fallen because, a few years ago, they were on a par with Man City, Real Madrid and Liverpool? Does that underline the extent of the fall?
“I think we’ve spoken a lot about that in the last few weeks. For me, it is now important that we take care of the future of the club. As I said, I strongly believe that there is a lot of things that can become better and will become better with a new manager and hopefully with some new players, with some fresh energy in that squad. It’s obvious that quite a few players’ contracts are expiring, that there will be a number of new players. With this group of new players and the quality of players that are already here, together with the new manager, I am very positive that next season will be a lot better.”

Ralf, you spoke about Bruno’s contract earlier, his form since he signed that contract seems to have got worse. The club seem to have this habit of giving contracts to players who haven’t necessarily been deserving of them. Eric Bailly got one last year, he’s played seven times this season. There have been examples of contracts being given when there hasn’t been a permanent manager in charge. With Erik coming in, should he have the final say on contracts because it doesn’t seem like the manager has always had the final say, because it seems as though the manager hasn’t always had the final say, whether they’re here permanently or, as in your case, interim? 

“I don’t know what has or hasn’t been the case in the past, how much influence the former managers have had on recruitment. I can only tell you what I’m used to in Europe or in Germany, and as you know in almost all clubs there is a sporting director with the manager or the head coaches, together with the scouting department, [to decide] which players will be coming. For example, in my last two clubs we never a signed a player without the approval of the manager and I’m pretty sure this will be the case with Erik. I’m also positive that Erik will make some suggestions, then together with the board, together with the scouting department and possibly myself we will then hopefully decide the right players. We have never signed a player at Red Bull, neither in Salzburg nor in Leipzig against the proposal or against the wishes of the head coach.”

Ralf reveals squad news for Chelsea game


Rangnick has updates on Fred and Cavani, plus two new absentees and an injury doubt.

Ralf, you mentioned last week how Jurgen Klopp had a bit of an advantage when he first came, they [Liverpool] finished eighth, next season he didn’t have European football and he could just concentrate on the league. I appreciate that you’re going to try and win every game, but is there a sense that Erik, now you’re not going to be in the Champions League, might benefit from not being in Europe. You’re not going to try and deliberately finish eighth but if that were to happen, and you didn’t have European football, could that be an advantage to him? 
“That could be an advantage, but that does not mean we will give away any of the remaining four games. For us it’s clear, and this is our obligation, this is our job, my job, the job of the players, that we try to get the best possible results then we will see at the end of the season in which position we will finish. Now, to speak about whether that would be an advantage or not, doesn’t make sense because this would be interrupted again…for me it’s important that we get results, that we play as good as we possibly can, because this will affect the mood for the new season.”

If Erik asks you about the captaincy and he asks you in your role as consultant, should Harry Maguire be the captain, would you recommend that, Ralf? What would you say to him, knowing Harry, having been here, five or six months?
“Again, I understand your question, but again I think it doesn’t make sense because you don’t know which kind of players will be here, what the group will look like. I can only tell what I have done in the past when I was the head coach or the manager, because in Germany it’s called match kapitän, so the captain of the team. I strongly believe that the captain should be elected by the team because he’s called the team manager, and we always did that. We always had a board of four or five players, we called it the spielkapitän, elected by the players, the player with the highest amount of votes was the team captain at the end. That’s how I did it, I know that not a lot of head coaches do it that way…”

Guardiola does it at City…
“Yeah, so that’s what I would do if I was still the manager next season, but I’m not, so that is something for Erik to decide.”
Part one: Ralf's press conference v Chelsea Video

Part one: Ralf's press conference v Chelsea

Watch the first half of Ralf's latest press conference, to preview our Premier League match against Chelsea...

Have you spoken to Erik at all? I know last week you said you hadn’t spoken…
“Not yet, no.”

Do you have plans to speak to him, is anything scheduled?
“Yes, but as I said, his focus is on Ajax now and trying to win the title there, my focus for the next few weeks is on our club, on getting the best possible results, and whenever he has time, or would like to speak, yes I am available, but I would not want to contact him on my own account now.”

You mention changes, do you see recruitment as the big one that Manchester United need to get right and have you had any discussions to that end? 
“Yes, I mean that’s obvious that recruitment is a vital part. And then of course also the quality of the job, of the coach, of the coaching staff, but recruitment is vital yes, and recruitment means getting in the best possible players for the kind of players you want to play.”