Ralf's Brentford press conference: Every word

Friday 29 April 2022 13:30

Ralf Rangnick has spoken to the media ahead of Manchester United’s final home game of the 2021/22 season on Monday evening.

The Reds will look to sign off at Old Trafford with a win against Brentford, before closing out the term with consecutive away trips to Brighton and Crystal Palace.

In the lead-up to what will also be Ralf’s final home fixture in charge of the club, the German conducted a pre-match media briefing, in which he provided a team news update and answered questions on his consultancy role, player recruitment and more. 

You can read every word from his press conference below…

Ralf, I know you might answer by saying now is not the time, but with regards to your consultancy role, could you give us a sense of what you might do? Because there is a director of football here in John Murtough, people are wondering what you will bring - is it European expertise? You said you’ve discussed it with the board, so give us a sense of what you will be advising on please…

“For me the most important bit is recruitment now. This is, for me, the most vital point - that we bring in the best possible players and speak about that, who could that be. It’s not only about identifying those players, it’s also then about meeting them, convincing them to join this club even though we will not be playing in the Champions League. This is what I see as the most important bit. Then also, with regards to top talented players for the Academy, identify those kind of players. We spoke about Mason Greenwood, he was probably one of the most talented players in the last couple of years and this is for me, for the next one, two years, the most important part.”
Ralf's press conference v Brentford Video

Ralf's press conference v Brentford

Rangnick details when our absentees could return and answers questions on his consultancy role plus transfer signings...

The Brentford game is likely to be the last home game for a number of players, so are you planning on playing Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic? Will Jesse Lingard be available for the game on Monday?
“Yes, I would like to but again it is also about getting the best possible result and the best possible performance, and not about making any gifts to players. Juan Mata played today in the last 15 minutes, Nema played for almost the whole game. So, it is not about saying farewell to the supporters. If possible, I will do that or I would like to do that, but it is also about getting the best possible result.”

Manchester United used to be renowned for buying players at the peak of their powers, but in the last couple of years they’ve bought [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, [Edinson] Cavani, [Cristiano] Ronaldo, experienced but still older players. Can those times return when United go into the market and say that the best 25-year-old player in the world can be attracted to play for the club again, instead of players at the end of their careers?
“My personal opinion is that the club should try to find future top star players and develop them. Tell me five players that might be some you spoke about…”

[Erling] Haaland, [Kylian] Mbappe…
“Yes, but Haaland is a young player, 21 or 22, this is one of those players I spoke about, but on the other hand he has developed in the last two years into one of probably the most expensive strikers in the world. He would be one of those examples where I think the focus should be. [Focus] on trying to identify, find and convince players who could be Manchester United players for the next couple of years.”
Is Manchester United still attractive to the top, top players nowadays? Do players still want to join in their best years? 
“As a club, with regard to the supporters, stadium and quality of our training ground, yes it definitely is, but you also have to be realistic. As soon as other clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City are involved, you need some good reasons and somebody needs to explain to the players, and that is why it is also very important what Erik thinks. I know that from my time with Leipzig and Salzburg and I also know it from Jurgen [Klopp] and from Thomas [Tuchel], if they want players, they’re also involved. They speak to the players and the same is probably true with Pep [Guardiola], they invite the players themselves. It’s also about speaking to those players and finding out about their mentality, about their character and if they are really players that are the best possible fit for this club.”

Ralf, can you hope to have any of the players who were missing [against Chelsea] back for the Brentford game? 
“I hope so yes but right now I don’t know. I hope Fred will make it for the Brentford game. Tonight [Thursday] was too early for him. As it seems, Jadon [Sancho] might be out for the rest of the season with his tonsillitis, so he will most likely be unavailable against Brentford. Edinson Cavani is supposed to come back to training tomorrow [Friday] but then again, the question is, [given he] has been missing for the last four or five weeks, quite a long time, is he really a player who could then play against Brentford? Probably not to start with but at least from the bench. Apart from that, we have to wait and see. Harry Maguire... Jesse [Lingard] was missing for personal, family reasons. I hope that some of those players will be back on Monday.”

Ralf’s team news for Brentford game


Our interim manager is hopeful that United’s ranks will be bolstered by the return of recent absentees on Monday.

Sorry Ralf, did you say that Jadon won’t play again this season potentially? 
“The last game is another three weeks [away] against Crystal Palace, but for the next two games I think it is unlikely [that he will play].”

Ralf, just on recruitment, do you think United are open to players that perhaps aren’t the ready-made stars but the next ones along the line? Or do you think the club needs players who have been there and done it to cope with the pressures of being at United?
“Again, we just need to look into the other top clubs, the other top clubs in England and also in other countries in Europe. What kind of players did they sign in the past? I think then you get the answer yourself.”

Rangnick issues Sancho update


Ralf reveals how long he expects the 22-year-old to be sidelined for, after he missed our draw with Chelsea.

Can you understand how fans are worried when they look at how bad the recruitment has been for a decade and the same people are here picking those players? [And understand] why they aren’t particularly convinced that there will be much change going forward?
“It is not up to me to speak about that right now, but it is obvious the club and team needs more players for the very reason that quite a few players have no contracts anymore and some other players are not available anymore. Some players might want to get more game time and are on loan already. So, for me, it is obvious the club needs quite a few new players. I already told you how I see that, it is important that the club identifies scouts and then recruits those kind of players that can help Manchester United to develop into one of the top teams again. Therefore, you need mentality, quality, physicality, pace, skills, you need the full package.”

United came second [in the Premier League] in 2018 and sacked [Jose] Mourinho before the end of the year. They came second in 2021 and sacked [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer before the end of the year. What goes wrong?

“Again, I didn’t sack any of those coaches and it’s difficult for me to speak about that. But it is obvious and I think this season showed that there are some problems that need to be solved and need to be attacked and settled, and I think we spoke about that already. But I am positive, with Erik ten Hag, Manchester United will have one of the best coaches that are available, probably also one of the best coaches that we have in Europe and then it is about, with him, recruitment. Together with the way the team is being trained and coached, [those] are the two most vital things, and if those two things come together, I am very positive that the fans here at Old Trafford, and yourself, will see a better kind of team, with a better kind of football.”

Rangnick to take up Austria role


Ralf will start his new job at the end of May and combine it with a consultancy position at United.

Can I clear up the Sancho thing? I’m not an expert on tonsillitis but it seems a long [absence]. Is he having his tonsils out? What is the situation?
“It could happen, definitely he’s got an inflammation on his tonsils and has also had some high temperatures so that’s why he was not available [on Thursday night] and he will most certainly not be available for the next two games. Hopefully, they can get hold of that inflammation and if his tonsils have to be removed, that can happen at the end of the season.”


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