When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November, many fans lost all hope that anything good would come out of this season. So when Ralf Rangnick was appointed as the club’s interim manager, instead of focusing on what the German could offer Manchester United Este season, they instead focused on the two-year consultancy role that would follow.
Rangnick was a major player within the Red Bull project which saw the rise of both RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig. Fans hoped that Rangnick would be able to offer his expertise to United, but that hope has now gone exactly the same way as his spell as interim manager went.
While few had high expectations for Rangnick’s interim spell, the months that followed his appointment were worse than any fan could have imagined. United crashed out of every cup competition in disappointing fashion and also finished outside the top four.
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People began to question, rightly or wrongly, whether Rangnick was qualified to manage a club like United and this doubt led some to question his role as a consultant. And when he accepted an offer to become the Austria national team coach, the writing was on the wall.
So when United announced that Rangnick would not be continuing at Old Trafford, there was a general consensus from the fanbase that the last six months had been a total waste of time. Of course, his appointment of him as an interim boss with a defined role afterwards left the door fully open for the club to appoint Erik ten Hag, but it’s difficult to appreciate the long-term benefits when you’re failing to beat teams likes of Everton and Watford.
So what does this mean for United now? John Murtough was instrumental in appointing Ten Hag as manager but he is still very new to the job, and Rangnick’s expertise in recruitment would have been useful as the club embark upon their biggest rebuild since Louis van Gaal’s tenure.
If you judge a fish for its ability to climb a tree then you’ll spend your whole life thinking it’s stupid. It was very clear that Rangnick was not an elite coach, nor was he a good enough coach to get a tune out of a United side that Solskjaer, who constructed it, emphatically failed with.
Throughout his tenure, Rangnick had been incredibly vocal about the problems with the squad and also behind the scenes, and the fans had lauded him for it. However, now the German is leaving, these empty promises will be left lingering in the air.
Many fans have taken the stance that Rangnick leaving is the best course of action given his failure as a coach, and this will likely remain the main narrative given we will never see the upside. But it seems like a short-sighted decision by the club to completely cut ties, even if it was a decision taken by both sides, when just one piece of advice from the German could have made all the difference.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.