Ralf Rangnick has told his players that the only way forward for Manchester United is through a pressing game, and they must be prepared to deliver exactly what he wants.
Rangnick arrived as United’s interim manager with a reputation in Germany as the godfather of gegenpressing, but aside from the first half of his first game against Crystal Palace, there has been little evidence of that.
As the 63-year-old prepared for his seventh match in charge, last night’s FA Cup match against Aston Villa, he emphasized the importance of his players meeting his demands.
‘This is the only way we will be able to compete at this level,’ Rangnick explained.
‘Whenever you watch a game, even if it is not involving one of the best teams, you will see that they play with intensity, toughness, energy, and sprinting.
‘This is the task at hand.
We must evolve into this type of team.
‘As I stated following the first game against Crystal Palace, we demonstrated a number of those attributes in the first half, and now it’s a matter of integrating them into the team.
This is our responsibility.
‘We need to develop players and identify players who are willing and capable of doing so and delivering exactly what we discussed.
‘At a club like Manchester United, the pressure is intense.
I’m rather certain the players are aware of this.
The squad is capable of dominating and winning games.’
When Rangnick spent a year studying in England and playing for non-league Southwick over 40 years ago, his teammates gave him a ticket to the 1980 FA Cup final between West Ham and Arsenal as a farewell present.
‘I’ve always been a huge fan, supporter, and lover of the FA Cup,’ he continued.
‘This is a critical competition for me.
We will undoubtedly make every effort to field our strongest team.’