Date: 2nd December 2021 at 11:59am
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The 2021-22 season was supposed to be one where Manchester United put themselves right back in contention for the top prizes around Europe. However, the Red Devils look set to be in for a competitive fight for a Champions League place instead this season following a slow start to the season.

A heavy defeat against Watford a couple of weeks ago spelt the end for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s run as Manchester United manager, and he was swiftly replaced by Ralf Rangnick, who will be the interim manager until a permanent boss is found at the end of the season. But, how will the German look to transform the Red Devils during his short tenure in the hot seat?

How Will The Style Change?

One of the main factors that was pointed at Solskjaer’s downfall was the lack of identity that his Manchester United side had during his tenure. During the Norwegian’s first 18 months in charge, the Red Devils were more of a counter-attacking team, but this was altered following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer.

It’s likely Solskjaer did foresee a scenario of Ronaldo returning to the club, which meant all the pre-season work went out the window, as it would when a player of Ronaldo becomes available.

United fans will know exactly what they are going to get with Rangnick in charge, as the word ‘gegenpressing’ has been banging around on social media since his interim appointment was made official. But, what is gegenpressing? It is a style that dates back to the 90s, as teams have an intense style of football, which revolves around winning the ball back as high as possible.

There have already been signs of United adopting this style during the caretaker reign of Michael Carrick, as Fred won the ball back 18 yards from the Villarreal goal before Cristiano Ronaldo’s lob in United’s 2-0 away win in the Champions League. But, the intensity will certainly rise much higher when the German is in the dugout.

Examples Of Gegenpressing

There are a number of examples around Europe of gegenpressing, with some of the leading German managers citing Rangnick as an inspiration for their style of play. The most famous of which is Jurgen Klopp, who has adopted this style of play throughout his Liverpool tenure.

Gegenpressing was the style of play that has taken Liverpool back to the very top of English football, and also delivered a first Champions League success since 2005.

Pressing from the top end of the pitch caught opponents off guard, winning the ball back high before having a weakened defence to attack. Other managers that have adopted this style of play, include Julian Nagelsmann during his time at both Leipzig and Bayern Munich. However, whether United have the players to make the style work remains to be seen.

The Red Devils are already linked with one of

What Happens After This Season?

The reason why the Rangnick appointment is so exciting from a United perspective is the fact that the German will also be sticking around for two further years as a consultant.

Fans of the Red Devils have been calling out for more football-intelligent people at the top of the club to oversee management changes and the incoming of players, and in Rangnick, they have one of the best.

The German took Red Bull Leipzig from a relatively unknown side in the bottom of the German divisions to a multi-million-pound European heavyweight in just seven years.

Check out what the odds of United to finish in the top 4 of the Premier League after Rangnick’s appointment here:

Of course, at United, he is already dealing with one of the biggest clubs in world football, but giving the Red Devils an identity and clear direction for the future will be his goal. His first job will be identifying a full-time manager for the 2022-23 season, which already looks to be a two-man fight between Mauricio Pochettino and Erik Ten Haag.

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