Part Two of Ralf Rangnick's press conference

Monday 14 February 2022 22:30

Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick addressed the media on a variety of topics ahead of his side's clash with Brighton at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening (20:15 GMT kick-off).

The German discussed Harry Maguire’s form, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s recent comments, and his own dedication to player development.

The visit of Brighton will see the 63-year-old lock horns with highly rated manager Graham Potter, whose side have not lost away in the Premier League in seven matches.

Below is every word Rangnick had to say in the embargoed section of his pre-match press conference…

Part two of Ralf's press conference: Brighton Video

Part two of Ralf's press conference: Brighton

See how Rangnick answered questions on Maguire and Sancho, plus Hasenhuttl's 'reverse gear' comments...

Hi Ralf, when you say your team is too easy to play against, in what ways in particular and how can you remedy that? Ralph Hasenhuttl talked about reverse gears perhaps not being the best at Man United – what are your thoughts are on that?

“Well as far as I know he said that they were struggling in the first half against us, that we won quite a few balls. I think the fact that they changed their formation three or four times in the first 45 minutes shows that we did a good job in the first half. Yes, what he said, that we are not a naturally born pressing team, with a lot of players in their DNA to press all the time. This is normal. They haven’t being doing that in the last couple of years. To change that into a pressing team all the time is difficult during a season, but for us it is important that we pick the right moments to be proactive and to press, the best possible counter-pressing. And even if this is not possible, to stay compact and not be too easily outplayed. Those were the moments when we had to suffer: when we conceded the goals too easily. Some of them in transitional moments, when we were almost over-anxious. We were not ready at the right moment, and then saying ‘oh wait, I should have pressed’, come in one or two steps too late, and giving the other team the space to be on the counter-attack. This has also got to do with not only tactical discipline, but also to be clever, to realise if it is not possible, then just stay in position, keep your shape and formation and still make it difficult for the other team to play through our lines.”

Is there any frustration from your perspective with Edinson [Cavani] and this latest injury he has picked up, because there were times last season where he was selected for squads and then he would withdraw, and the club were quite clear in saying it was his decision?

“It is always sad if you have players unavailable, no matter if it is Edinson or another. If they are injured, they are injured. If a player says he is not available because he is injured and we do a scan, and realise there is an injury, even if it is a minor muscle injury... if the player says he cannot fully sprint it makes no sense to have them in the squad. Yes, I would have loved to have him in the squad and maybe brought him onto the pitch in the second half against Southampton, but it was not possible. If it is frustrating or not, it would have been good to have him available, but in the end, he’s old enough – by the way, it's Edinson’s birthday today – I think he is old enough to know if his body is ready in order to play or not.”

Edinson Cavani has not featured since the draw at Burnley last Tuesday.

Can we just ask you about Harry Maguire? Do you think he is playing below par, and do you see any need to address that in terms of the captaincy or leaving him out?

“Well, I think after he came back after his injury, he did extremely well – he had a very good performance, a very good game against West Ham. In the last two games, yes, he had some weaker moments, both against Southampton and when we conceded the goal against Burnley. But, again, he is our captain, and I don’t see any reason to change that. He is also a player who has to develop, get better, like all the other players. The way that we are playing now is new also for him, because for the English national team he is used to playing in a back three and for Manchester United, in most cases in a back four, but also being proactive, not with that kind of rest defence. [Our style is about] always being on the front foot when we are trying to defend, and this is something also new to him. It will also take some time for him to get used to that, to adjust to that, and this is all I can say to that.”

Rangnick backs Maguire to rediscover his form.

You spoke about the pressure and level of expectation around coming to Manchester United. Do you think that is what contributed to what many think is a slow start to Jadon Sancho’s career at the club? And have you seen a change around him at the training ground, being more confident after these performances?

“Yes, obviously. This is a normal reaction of a player if he realises that he is doing better, that he is scoring goals, that he is giving assists. Of course, this helps to raise his confidence. As I said he is one of the players who has benefitted from our style of football. Playing from the left side, this is something that also suits to him and as I said, in his first year at the age of 21 in a big club like this, other players have also struggled. I remember the first season of Robert Lewandowski at Dortmund. He was not regularly playing and only in his second year he had his breakthrough, and I am pretty positive that Jadon is now on the right pathway; that he realises that he can also be one of the best wingers in the Premier League, not only in the German Bundesliga. The only thing that I did, and my coaching staff did was show belief in him, as I said with a few other of those younger players. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga, they are two other examples, and this is the only way we can develop young players at a club like Manchester United.”