Part two of Rangnick's press conference
Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick addressed the media on a whole host of different topics, ahead of his side's clash with Southampton at Old Trafford tomorrow lunchtime (12:30 GMT kick-off).
The 63-year-old spoke about Cristiano Ronaldo, a recent tweak in formation within the side and also on the VAR intervention we saw at Burnley in midweek.
As Rangnick prepares to take charge of his 13th game as United boss, tomorrow's clash will also present the chance of a reunion with Saints boss Ralf Hasenhuttl, with the pair both previously working together at RB Leipzig.
Below is every word the German had to say in part two of his pre-match press conference...
Part 2 of Ralf's press conference: United v Saints
In the second half of his media briefing, Rangnick discusses strikers, VAR, formations and Cristiano Ronaldo...
Hi Ralf, given Cristiano Ronaldo turned 37 last week, Edinson Cavani is turning 35 next week and given the amount of games played this month, rotation will be needed. Looking ahead and given their ages, will the club need a younger forward for next season?
“This is obvious. Edinson’s contract is running out in the summer and the club needs the best possible centre forward. This is a obvious one and I think everyone is aware of that.”
You mentioned earlier the positioning of the number eights in your team, how would you ideally like Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes to interact with each other during games?
“I think both positions fit perfectly to their profile. Both Paul and Bruno in my opinion have a lot of things you need for a modern number ten, or a modern eight or six. Most of the top teams in Europe play with a holding six with two eights and I think this is one of the reasons we have improved when in possession. When we have the ball in recent weeks we have created chances. Although we didn’t score the goals we should have done, I think the way we produced and prepared those chances have got to do with the change from a 4-2-2-2 to a 4-3-3.”
“I don’t think this has anything to do with fatigue because if that was the case we wouldn’t have dominated the game once again in the last 20-25 minutes against Burnley. I think it's more of phycological mental issue that when you are aware how much you have dominated the game, then all of a sudden it's not 2/3-0 to us it's still 1-1, it affects the phycological momentum and probably the players, much like us on the bench, couldn’t believe it was still 1-1 after the first 55-60 minutes. This is something again we have spoken about yesterday with the team, even if that happens, it shouldn’t but it can in football, we should still be aware of why we are so dominant and why we're so successful. Coming back to our two number eights in those 15 minutes, Paul was all of a sudden collecting the ball between our centre-backs at times and so was Scotty at times too. Bruno was trying to collect the ball on our wing position and we showed that to the team. In the last period of the game there was almost no player in the centre of the pitch. This is something we did in the first half extremely well, by keeping a very close distance between each other and always had our triangles, we were always able to play in that way during those rotations, combining between ourselves but in the last 15 minutes this was not the case. We didn’t stick to our positions and this is exactly what we spoke about with our players yesterday that we should not do. Even if something unexpected should happen between the game.”
“No, I wouldn't even know who to speak to. I don’t think it would change anything, of course we were extremely unlucky with those decisions, both with the handball decision against Middlesborough and the two disallowed goals at Burnley. But again this is football, we have to learn and deal with it. Of course we would have wished those decisions to be different but in the end they were as they were and even if I was to call somebody now this will not change anything in regards to the result. We must put our full focus on those things we can influence. Again what we can influence is the development that has already taken place and I’m sure this will happen again in the next couple of weeks, that we improve our performances and create as many chances as we possibly can, plus allow a minimum amount of opportunities to the other team. It sounds pretty simple but this is what it is about, to create as many chances as we possibly can and allow the other team as few as possible or only very few maybe just one, two a game. Under normal circumstances you also win the games.”
“This is a question you will have to ask Cristiano, I only realised that after the game, or saw it after the game. This is not a question I can answer.”
On the switch from 4-2-2-2 to 4-3-3, was that to try and control the games better and should you have perhaps tried to implement that when you first arrived. Is there regret you didn’t do so sooner?
“No because this is something we had to find out. Of course now Paul Pogba has only been available as of two weeks ago, also Fred can play in that number eight position and to start with for me it was logical to stick with the formation that we were used to and the team had played before. As you know the first game against Crystal Palace and against Norwich we played in a 4-2-2-2 quite like how Southampton is playing. Once we realised all our players Bruno, Fred and for Paul Pogba we fit better playing to their assets and their strengths, it suits us better when we play them in an ‘eight’ position, then we did that and I think this is the right formation for us, where most of the players if not all of the players play in their best position.”
Just touching on Ronaldo post-match against Burnley again, is that something that you don't like to see? You have spoken quite a lot about the fans and how good they are, particularly in away matches, do they not deserve to be acknowledged?
“Yes but Cristiano as we all know is 37 and I think he knows himself what he should do or should not do and also what he has to do. As I said, our focus is on those things that can we can influence and develop and why he didn’t do it and why he left the pitch directly after the full-time whistle was perhaps because he was also disappointed that we only got a draw and that he or the team couldn't score. Again, this is not any kind of energy we should waste at the wrong ends. We should put our full focus on things we can influence.”