What Ralf said in part two of his press conference
Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick met with journalists on Monday afternoon to preview our Premier League game against Liverpool.
His side will travel to Anfield on Tuesday evening, looking to record consecutive victories after Saturday's triumph over Norwich City.
Prior to the Liverpool clash, Ralf answered journalists’ questions in his media briefing, which is split into two separate sections.
The first was released this afternoon, while the second part was embargoed for 22:30 BST, and is therefore now available for you to see in full.
Our boss was asked questions on Tuesday's opponents, Nemanja Matic's confirmed departure, Marcus Rashford and much more...
Part two: Ralf's press conference v Liverpool
The second half of Rangnick's press conference is a fascinating watch: delve into the latest news and views here...
How long will it take Manchester United to catch up to the sort of level Liverpool are at?
“I think I answered that question earlier on in the last two or three weeks. I don’t think that a club like Manchester United can afford to take three or four years in order to achieve that, and I don’t think it is necessary. We spoke about Liverpool earlier on, how long it took for them. After two or three transfer windows if you know what you’re looking for I mean if you don’t know what you’re looking for you’ll always looking for the needle in the haystack. If you know what kind of football you want to play, what kind of profiles you have for each individual position it’s about finding them, but not only finding them but also convincing them to come. As I said Liverpool at the time they finished eighth I think the year after they didn’t play international football at all, so the full focus of Jurgen [Klopp] was on the Premier League and the national cup competitions. I think then it took, I don’t know, two transfer windows but even in the other transfer windows that came later on, they just made lots of very, very good transfers and signings, and this is what it’s all about. It’s not that complicated, it’s not rocket science, but in order to have your best possible wind, you need to know where your destination haven is. If you don’t know that, it’s always difficult.”
If you don’t get things right, and if the club doesn’t get things right, do you think it is feasible that it could be 30 years [without a title] here as it was there [Liverpool]?
“I suppose that will not happen because it is pretty obvious what needs to change and there needs to be a rebuild for the future. I don’t think that this will happen.”
There were a few humiliations on the pitch [this season], like the 5-0 back in October. Do you think the players at the very least owe the fans a performance tomorrow night?
“Yes, I think we cannot- I was not here actually, when that game took place. But obviously if you lose 5-0 at home and you’re down 4-0 at half-time at the time., then something must have gone wrong in that game. I remember the line-up, almost all the players were available at that time so yeah, for us it is about knowing what do we want. We need to show that commitment, we need to be present on the pitch, be aggressive. Although there might be a lot of defensive work coming up for us tomorrow, we still need to be pro-active. Just sitting and back and hoping, keeping fingers crossed that we are not conceding any goals is not enough against a team like Liverpool. We need to have the best possible balance of being defensively organised, but still pro-active, aggressive and whenever there is a chance to create moments ourselves, being in transitional moments or in possession, we have to do that.”
Nemanja Matic said on Friday that he is leaving the club in the summer and that he had spoken to you and informed him of that decision. There are a lot of players who are out of contract at the end of the season; have they approached you and told you definitively that they are leaving the club?
“No the only one with whom I have spoken and the only one who told me about this was Nema [Matic]. We had also spoke on Friday evening in the hotel before the game. He didn’t do anything wrong, for the next year there was an option in the contract. It was optional for both the club and the player to decide if he wants to stay here and he decided after, I don’t know, five years, now to go elsewhere. But knowing Nema, he will be a player until the very, very last day he’s here. He will put all the effort into the best possible performance. In the last game whenever I let him play and when he got game time he did well."
Part one: Ralf's press conference v Liverpool
Watch part one of Ralf's press conference for the Premier League match at Liverpool, starting with an update on Bruno...
In football, it tends to always be the managers who get the blame. Isn’t the simple fact of this season that every single outfield player basically has underperformed, and it is actually their responsibility? Every player has underperformed other than David De Gea probably. Is that a fair enough comment?
“I don’t know. I wouldn’t see it that [way]. I don’t think that it was only David De Gea who is not underperforming. Yes we are lacking consistency, we didn’t keep the good games and good performances continuously on the highest possible level, but we had games and times where we played well. No matter if it was the Villa games, if it was West Ham at home, Tottenham, away at Leeds. We had good performances and good games but just what we didn’t do was we were not showing that continuously on the highest possible level. In the end yes, in football it’s the manager who is responsible for what happens in the present time but it’s obvious. I wouldn’t be sitting here, if everything had gone wrong before that then Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] would probably still be here… Right now, again, our job is to finish the season on the best possible note, to get the best out of those remaining games that we have. Then, at the end of the season, it is the time to draw the right conclusions.”
Ralf, there were big hopes for Marcus Rashford this season after his operations at the start of the season. It’s obviously not panned out as anyone would have hoped. I think you said at the weekend he just has to show up. Could you explain what you meant by that, and how is he not showing up at the minute?
“I think with Marcus, the biggest problem is that in most cases in training sessions he is really training well. He is playing and performing in training with confidence, with good moments. He is always a player after training when we speak in Germany with the coaching staff we say ‘that was a good training session by Marcus’ and on game day it is about showing exactly that kind of performance on the pitch. He was struggling to do that in the last week and months. He had good games, I remember the first game when I was in charge against Crystal Palace he did well. He had other games where we- we all know his potential, we all know what kind of player he could be. But again if the football team is not performing continuously on a high level it is difficult for individual players to develop in a positive way. This is the special thing about a team sport. Players individually can only benefit and develop if the whole team develops. This is what it is about.”
The team were 4-0 down in the first half here in the autumn. If the players don’t play how you want them to do, how much of a danger is it that what happened in the first game might happen again tomorrow?
“No, as I said we will travel there and our clear goal is to win the game, knowing that we are playing against a top team and knowing that we have to play at our very, very best with and without the ball. I believe that we can do that. I’m pretty sure that the players want to do that- they had a good training session today. It doesn’t matter what I’m telling you right now, it is up to the players to show exactly that commitment on the pitch tomorrow.”
When you came in, I’m sure you had a few ideas about what had gone wrong. Now that you have been immersed in it for five months, has the level or the extent of the problems surprised you?
“It is still six games to play, I am full aware of that but I think the team has improved in certain areas. I think by the time I came, the average goals that the team conceded was 1.7-1.8. Right now we have 1.1. The point average used to be 1.5, now we are at 1.8. This is not really important but juts to explain to you that I think the team has developed, but not in the same way that I wished it to happen, and definitely not in the same way that the supporters would have wished it to happen. Because everybody would have thought and believed that after finished second last season with the new players that came into the team, that number two is the minimum that we should achieve. We all know that it didn’t happen."
Is that why you’ve not had the chance to change as much as you would have hoped?
“A few things happened. We also have to be honest with that. We lost a few players that we shouldn’t have lost. I spoke about that last week, bearing in mind what kind of offensive players we had available against West Ham. Which substitutions I could make in the last 15 minutes. Three of them are no longer here or injured, continuously injured. We lost other players. Right now we have a few injuries to important players who would normally be in the starting 11. Again, this is no excuse no alibi. This is also an issue that worries me a little bit, the number of injuries that we currently have. If I compare to Liverpool, even though they are still competing in four competitions, I think they have no injury problems at all. We only play in the Premier League and we have five, six players injured. This is also an issue that needs to be taken care of for the future. To analyse why is that the case, why does that happen? But again, for us now it is about travelling to Liverpool tomorrow, show our very, very best performance that we can show on the pitch, and show everybody, and this is what I expect from all the players being involved tomorrow, that we are good enough and that we want to win the game tomorrow.”
Some of the older fans in the stadium [on Saturday] said they could never remember so much criticism of the players from inside the stadium. I just wondered if you felt you needed to talk to your players since, and whether they have been affected at all?
“No I think the players will realise that themselves. I’m not so sure that this is fair towards the players because I know that they care and they suffer after defeats like against Everton and they don’t like that kind of feeling, to not win games or even lose games. But again I can also understand the supporters. They are frustrated, they had higher expectations, they don’t understand why things happened. In the end, it’s up to the club, to the board, to the people in charge to analyse that but not now. That is something to do at the end of the season.”