Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick suggested there could be up to 10 signings at the club this summer following a 4-0 thrashing by Liverpool.
Liverpool pummeled United 5-0 at Old Trafford in October and almost matched that scoreline on a comfortable night at Anfield, where United’s dwindling goal difference took them down to sixth in the Premier League table.
Rangnick described United’s supine performance as ’embarrassing’ and reiterated Liverpool’s superiority is more than six years in the making, dating back to Jurgen Klopp’s appointment in October 2015.
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Rangnick liked Liverpool’s squad to a fleet of Formula 1 cars and stressed the league leaders are ‘six years ahead of’ United.
“We have to be critical with ourselves because the way we played in the first 45 minutes was in no area what we wanted to see and what we wanted to play,” Rangnick said. “Since we had all our defensive midfielders, natural ball-winners, not available we decided to go with the back five.
“I decided directly after against Norwich, where, if we are honest, they had five or six massive opportunities to score, and had it not been for David [de Gea] in goal we could have easily conceded with three or four goals against Norwich at home, so that’s why I decided an extra central defender.
“I don’t think at all the first half had anything to do with our formation. It had to do with the way we played the game and the way we conceded the first goal was definitely not part of our game plan to allow them a transitional moment like the one that happened.
“Being 1-0 down, it affected our confidence level again. The first-half was not good enough, We changed from a back five to a back four again (at half-time). The first 25 minutes of the second half was better, a lot better, but in those moments we had we didn’t score a goal.
“The way we prepared the third goal again was exactly those kind of goals that were on the blacklist of things that we shouldn’t do against Liverpool. A 12-yard pass into Anthony Elanga, who is not a player for that kind of ball They are waiting for those kinds of balls and then we granted the third one.
“Jurgen came six years ago and if you compare the squad he inherited, he came after eight or nine games and finished eighth, this is roundabout where we are currently. He had a point average of that season of 1.6 but with every transfer window after that they develop the kind of squad we have today.
“I am not blaming anyone, not my players nor anyone else, but we just have to realize what kind of squad they had available. Look at their bench, look at the four players who weren’t even in the squad: Roberto Firmino was the only one who was injured. Oxlade-Chamberlain wasn’t in the squad, Minamino was not in the squad, Harvey Elliott was not in the squad. This shows what kind of quality and team they have built together working with Jurgen and his team for the last six years.
“It is not just the quality of players but what kind of mentality they have, what kind of energy and physicality compared with high-speed. I would say they have 25 Formula One cars in their squad.”
When it was suggested an identical six-year plan was unlikely at United due to the short shelf-life of their recent managers, Rangnick replied: “Why not? In our own city it happened with Pep [Guardiola].
“If you look at the two clubs who are currently dominating the Premier League, they did exactly that. They brought in two managers and not only did they bring in two managers, they also changed the whole thing in terms of formation, what kind of players do they need?What kind of football do we want to play?
“The headline of everything was ‘how do we want to play?’ And underneath this headline after every transfer window, they created the team they have in both clubs.
“If you analyze the situation, it’s not that difficult to analyze. The team needs a rebuild, not because some players have to go but quite a few have no contracts anymore, their contracts are expiring, then for me it’s clear there will be six , seven, eight, maybe 10 new players.
“And before you sign those players you need to be aware how do you want to play? What kind of football does the new manager want to play? And then take it from there and then bring every single player fitting into that kind of profile. “