Rangnick: Why sports psychology is vital
Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick emphasised the importance of sports psychologists in the pre-match press conference before our Champions League meeting with Young Boys.
Ahead of our final Group F match against the Swiss champions, Ralf faced the media alongside Nemanja Matic for the pre-match press conference.
Rangnick was asked about his team and thoughts ahead of the game with Young Boys as well as the changes he wants to implement at United, and elaborated on the appointment of Sascha Lense to his backroom staff to help 'train the brains' of the players and coaches.
As well as bringing some of his own coaches to M16, the German also revealed during the briefing that the club has hired a sports psychologist, with Rangnick explaining that it is vital that the players are mentally, not just physically, at their best level in order to perform to their maximum.
"Actually, I don't know what the situation is like in England, in other clubs, but in Germany, in the last couple of years, most clubs have employed a sports psychologist or mental coach, whatever you would like to call them," Ralf said.
"For me, it is absolutely logical. I didn't have somebody like this [until] Hans-Dieter Hermann, the current sports psychologist of the German national team, back in 1998. Korb were probably the first club in Germany who has ever employed a sports psychologist in him. For me, it's only a question of logic, if you have special coaches for goalkeeping, for physical and education, even for strikers, for fitness, you also should have an expert for the brain.
"Not so much to put them on the white sofa and holding hands for the players because most of them won't do that anyway, but, for me, it's about helping the players [know] that the brain should assist the body and not work against it. So, this is what it's about for the players and even the coaching staff, everybody in our team should think in the right way, we all know what it's about."
Lense is the man who has been tasked with the job as sports psychologist at United. The 46-year-old German has previously worked with Rangnick at RB Leipzig.
"I worked with him for three years at Leipzig, in the year I won promotion from the second to the First Division myself and the following two years, when Ralph Hasenhuttl was head coach and Zsolt Low – the current assistant coach of Thomas Tuchel – was assistant coach," Rangnick said about Lense.
"We have known each other since then and he will be introduced to the team as soon as he's got his visa and work permit."
In particular, Rangnick is a fan of how Lense applies his expertise and thinks that can be of benefit to his players.
"When we speak about football, we know the major part is up here [in the brain], so, 'what do you think? How do you analyse this situation?' And, therefore, I'm very happy to have Sascha on board," the United interim boss said before further explaining the appointment.
"As I said, he's a former Second Division player, he's hands on, he's not too much working with the theory, he's hands on. He's part of every training session. Having worked together with him in Leipzig, I know we could benefit a lot from him.
"It's also, as I said, with the coaching and the coaches. Of course, the coaches have to allow that. And, for me, it's vital that on the top level, you should have the best possible person on this job."