Ralf Rangnick believes Manchester United have to become more like Manchester City and Liverpool by appointing a manager who has a clear way of playing and can implement this over the long term.
United travel to City for Sunday’s 187th derby trailing the champions by 19 points with 11 matches left. In the past decade City have secured the title five times, with Pep Guardiola guiding them to three of these, and Liverpool have done so once, under Jürgen Klopp, who has also won the Champions League.
Rangnick was asked whether United were in the position to have a similar successful structure to City’s. “I have not thought about that,” the interim manager said. “I don’t even know the structure or setup at City. My focus was, and still is, on developing the current team and getting best out of this season. City and Liverpool have continuity and consistency in their head coach, for past five or six years.
“They have very clear identity, how they want to play. I know Jürgen in person and I know Pep from his time in Germany managing Bayern Munich; he also has a clear idea how he wants to play. This is the secret behind their success: they know exactly how they want to play, a corporate identity. Not just for new players but for staff members too. This is what all the top clubs have in common. This is something that needs to be developed at Manchester United.”
Rangnick adheres to a fast-pressing style and was asked whether his replacement in the summer would retain this. “That would depend on the decision regarding the head coach next season,” he said. “Every coach has their own idea of football. For me it’s about consistency on the highest possible level and also quality of players.
“We all agree with Jürgen and Pep [being] in the top five [in the world] – certainly they’re the best two coaches in Europe. It’s pretty easy in football: you need to have the best possible people, a clear idea of football and stick to that idea and make decisions with that in mind.”
Rangnick expects Edinson Cavani to be in the squad after injury. Guardiola will be without Rúben Dias for up to six weeks because of a hamstring problem and Nathan Aké, another defender, is also injured.
Guardiola stated he did not see the 19-point gap. “I see the weakness points they have and I see the strengths points they have, but if I see this as an easy game I’m not going to sleep well,” he said. “To sleep well I have to see the best of them but when they don’t have the ball I try to find the weaknesses that they have. But of course always I think the best version of all of them. Otherwise I would make a mistake.”