New Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick has opened the door to staying on as boss beyond the summer.
The 63-year-old German was due to take his first training session on Friday after succeeding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer until the end of the season.
Due to retreat to a rather vague consultancy role beyond that, Rangnick was asked at a press conference on Friday morning whether there was a possibility of remaining in the dug out beyond that.
Ralf Rangnick gave his first press conference as Manchester United’s interim manager
Rangnick said: ‘I mean the people with whom I have spoken so far have been very clear that we’re talking about a six, six-and-a-half month role as a manager currently.
‘We have never spoken about what will happen in the summer.
‘But right now I’m fully aware they might be looking for a new manager. If they will then speak with me about that we will see.
‘Maybe if they ask my opinion and everything goes well and we develop the team I might even make the same recommendation to the board that I did at Leipzig twice when I recommended it might be a good idea to keep working with me for one year.
‘But this is all hypothetical. We cannot speak about that. For me now it’s about winning the next games and this is the major focus.’
The German refused to rule himself out of taking the job permanently in the summer
If United improve under his watch Rangnick feels it may be a ‘good idea’ for him to stay on
In the stands for United’s exciting 3-2 win over Arsenal at Old Trafford on Thursday night, Rangnick inherits a team still within touching distance of a top four spot.
But the former RB Leipzig and Schalke coach stressed that United simply cannot play like that if they are to move forwards.
‘It was exciting but it’s not the kind of game you can have every day,’ he said.
‘We need to have control of the game. We have to transfer the game away from our own penalty box to the opponents.
‘The major target for me in the next couple of days and weeks is to bring more balance into the team.
‘Yesterday, we conceded two goals, we needed three goals to win the game and if you look at the total number of goals conceded, it is almost two on average, per game, and this is just too much.
‘This is my approach. To help the team to get more balance, more control of the game.
Fans embraced Rangnick’s first visit to Old Trafford as he watched the Arsenal win on Thursday
‘Yesterday’s game was exciting for the fans, but even for myself, as the future coach, those are not the kind of games that we need every day because football, for me, is to minimise the coincidence factor and have control and gain control of a game.
‘This is football, what it’s about. This my approach and I will try to help these outstanding, talented players to try and keep away from their own goal.’
Nevertheless, Rangnick was complimentary about United’s squad, particularly its attacking strength, and believes the club is in a better position than Liverpool were when countryman Jurgen Klopp took over at Anfield in 2015. Klopp’s team won the Premier League in 2019.
Rangnick added: ‘This squad is definitely good enough to compete in the top flight [top four].
‘If you look at the top three teams currently they seem to be very stable and have top coaches, probably some of the best coaches in the world, and if you see how they play and how they win games in style, controlling the games, this is something we have to develop.
‘When Jurgen came to Liverpool, the squad he inherited at the time was definitely not a better squad than the one I inherit here now at United.’
Rangnick will look to appoint two or three new members of coaching staff after losing Solskjaer’s assistant Michael Carrick after Thursday night’s game. He claimed he spoke for an hour with Carrick to try and persuade him to stay – despite Carrick seeming to suggest otherwise this week – and also had a two-hour telephone conversation with Solskjaer and half an hour with owner Joel Glazer.
He will be looking to add some new coaches to his staff after Michael Carrick stepped down
With Rangnick’s style of football known to be similar to Klopp’s in term of high intensity pressing, he was asked whether 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo would be able to fit in to that.
‘You always have to adapt your style to suit players,’ he said.
‘Ronaldo is amazing. I have never seen a player as physically fit. He can still make a difference. From what I saw last night he will do that. The others players will have to do the same.’
Rangnick admitted on Friday morning that he spoke to Chelsea about replacing Frank Lampard last season but did not fancy the short-term nature of the job.
‘When Chelsea contacted me in February, we spoke only about the interim manager for four months, without any perspective to work in the long-term together and here now we are talking about six-and-a-half months, so we only have one-third of the games played in the Premier League and, as you all know, we have agreed on a two-year advisory role after those six-and-a-half months,’ he said.
‘In the end, to be honest, when a club like Manchester United contacts you for such a role you cannot possibly turn it down.’
United are refusing to disclose details of what Rangnick’s consultancy role may look like. For example, it is not known whether the German will be free to work for other clubs at the same time.
The new boss admitted that he will adapt his playing style to help Cristiano Ronaldo (right)