Wednesday, May 04, 2022

The changing of the guard at Old Trafford - it's goodbye Ralf and hello, Erik ten Hag...

On 24 July 2021, it was announced that Ole Gunnar Solskjær had signed a three-year contract. Just three and a half months later, Manchester United sacked their once-popular manager. In truth, it was a sacking that many supporters had called for and it was widely expected, it was not a surprise. In his place, United appointed Ralf Rangnick, a German coach, who, while being something of an unknown as far as many rank and file supporters were concerned, was held in high regard by the likes of Jurgen Klopp and others with greater knowledge of the game on the continent.

Ralf Rangnick was appointed as interim manager for the remainder of the season untl the summer when a permanent appointment would be made. Before his appointment, the fans were told to expect big changes, and that the German's preferred high-intensity pressing style of football would yield a change in fortunes on the pitch, where morale was low and results were even worse.

Where it all went wrong for Ole Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Despite having signed two world-class players in the summer in Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphaël Varane, the prospect of defeat seemed never far away. In mid-October, United lost 4-2 away at Leicester City, in a game in which United's defending had left a lot to be desired. In truth, the manner of that defeat at the King Power Stadium didn't come as a surprise as the team weren't gelling well as a unit from back to front. After a narrow 3-2 win over Atalanta FC at home at Old Trafford in the Champions League and just eight days after the reverse against the Foxes, United then lost 5-0 at home to Liverpool; the club's worst result against its deadly rivals since 1925. That show-stopping result against Liverpool was followed by a surprise and well received 3-0 away victory at Spurs. United 'did not turn up in the derby at Old Trafford which saw a sorry and spineless performance from the team in a one-sided game which ended 0-2. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s final straw came on November 20th at Vicarage Road where United was humbled 4-1 to relegation-threatened Watford.

Goodbye Ole, hello Ralf...

Once again, it was time to change the guard at Old Trafford and in stepped Ralf Rangnick, who after talking a good game and being popular among supporters due to his matter of fact analysis of the United squad hasn't matched expectations where results are concerned. Ralf Rangnick's United was on the wrong end of another mauling against Liverpool when losing 4-0 at Anfield, and then at the Etihad where it ended 4-1 in the derby, and it wasn't just the loss of valuable Premier League points that were being torn asunder, so was Ralf Rangnick's reputation as a coach; Paul Scholes appeared to question the German live on BT Sport; the former United midfield maestro pulled no punches, he was blunt and dismissive of United's coaching.

With the results going north on the pitch and fan anger growing in the stands, it was clear that the big changes Ralf Rangnick had hinted about would have to happen; the German went on live TV following the 4-0 hammering at Liverpool and said that perhaps the team needed ten new players.

Then with supporters starting to talk about protests due to the paucity of Manchester United, both and off the pitch, and anger directed towards the Glazer family, United after weeks of speculation finally announced that Dutchman Erik ten Hag, the Ajax manager would be Manchester United's next full-time manager. Ten Hag has a huge job on his hands and we await news of the outgoing and incoming players with great interest. Keep the faith and keep following United.