We have seen the other side of the tunnel. The man we wanted Ole to be so bad, he wasn’t, and probably never will be. The board acted quickly (see: Extremely fucking late) and parted ways and has appointed Ralf Ragnick as interim manager with 2 years of further consultancy. Only two games into his reign, you can see the German has a clear vision. Will it last? Is it really an improvement?
This calendar year, and perhaps last year too, Ole lost his way. With a team ever-growing with more talent, Ole’s flaws were now being put to the spotlight. The team didn’t press well, attack well, or defend well. There are many diagnoses for the recent turn of form, but I often use Clusterfuck. Everyone was all smiles in the training videos, probably because they didn’t have to follow any sort of strict routine. No work seemed to be done on the training ground that resembled thoughtful tactics on match days. I can only hope this will change.
The leaks about Ralf Rangnick are pretty funny, and on-brand for stereotypical Germans. This intense, threatening figure will scare the team into motivation. Clocks are ticking non-stop, strange pregnancy quotes, and rock and roll. Does this guy think he’s running a military platoon or something? He has to remember he is coaching very high paid, very sensitive grown men, not a bunch of high-schoolers looking to make their name. Whatever they sort out in the dressing room, there is no doubt this team can conform to his tactical outlook.
In just 2 games under Carrick, Fred, Bailly, Sancho, Lindelof, Donny, and Telles all look somewhat rejuvenated. There is no doubt they can continue this with a drill sergeant coming into the team and preaching the importance of work rate and a new philosophy of how to approach games. One thing Man United do have are physically gifted players. Most of our midfielders and wingers are capable or running around for a full 90 and creating chaos if provided good instruction. I know some people are somewhat weary, and I can’t blame them. The last time a German citizen decided he was going to high press, counterattack, and try to control teams all over Europe, things didn’t end so well.
Ralf’s Man Management
Another example of Ole shitting the bed. I can’t blame him for everything regarding man management, but he sure gets a majority of it. One thing that’s easy to understand is that not playing feels worse when your team sucks. Currently this team sucks, and nothing has really been done to change things up with the XI or how they play. People envisioned Ole as this amazing manager who was so much better than Mourinho because he cared about the players and could build comradery. Now United is 4 transfer windows in, Ole has amassed a team of amazingly talented individuals who couldn’t perform consistently in a team setting.
For Ralf, I can’t be quite positive how his man management is with superstar-laden teams, but I do believe he will wipe the slate clean. Anyone who hopes to make it into the side will have to prove they deserve their place, which is a good type of competition. Hopefully his form of favoritism is based in fact and consistent performance, rather than irrational belief. I hope he can smoothly transition the team into his mindset, because do you really want a bunch of Europeans hating a German guy?
As far as the deadwood/impending free agents, I have no clue how what Rangnick’s plan is. In my opinion, there are 3 things that make a footballer happy; money, playing time, and team performance. You might be able to get away with 2 of the 3, but if you truly want a happy team, you better provide all 3. United have shown that they have deep pockets to keep players on, so its all on Ralf to fix the last two. If you don’t fix this, you essentially get a whole team of Pogba’s and Raiola’s wreaking havoc on morale.
This is probably Ole’s greatest aspect and worst flaw as a coach. His vision was that of a director, not necessarily a coach. He knew what he wanted. He wanted young superstars surrounded by a few seasoned veterans, which would compose the greatest threat to the top teams in Europe. Youngsters with passion, and vets with experience provide great cohesion to a team. Everyone has their place in the pecking order, and each can learn off the other. Ralf I will imagine also believes in this.
I think one important distinction between Ralf and Ole is their tactical vision. Ole vision was to recruit the best players around the world, and expect them to perform and showcase their brilliance and talent. Ralf I’m sure wants the best players, but he wants players that will mesh with a style of football. Classic chicken or the egg scenario, but I think Ralf is more shrewd for envisioning a way to play, and then attracting players who fit that style, rather than vice versa.
Ralf’s at the Wheel
All in all, Ralf is what United need. The Ole Mr. Nice Guy was replaced with a guy who only believes in honesty and results. A few presser’s in and you can already he doesn’t bullshit. If you do good, he says so. If you do bad, he also says so. I think the team can do with a fresh breath of honesty because it will keep them accountable. He hasn’t gone at any players, he simply just speaks what he sees. God, I love you you beautiful German bastard.