There is no quick fix to United’s problems, Ralf Rangnick insists

Ralf Rangnick, Manchester United interim manager, has told the board it could take up to three transfer windows to resolve the club’s crisis and only if they adopt a clear philosophy of the game and address the squad’s glaring lack of physicality and aggression .

nited lost in their increasingly hopeless battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League with a tepid 1-1 home draw to Leicester that raised further damning questions about the recruitment, struggle and composition of a team in reverse gear stuck.

Erik ten Hag – who has a €2m release clause in his contract at Ajax – is ahead of Paris Saint-Germain’s Mauricio Pochettino the favorite to be taken on as permanent manager at the end of the season when Rangnick’s interim position expires.

It remains to be seen if Rangnick will end up fulfilling the advisory role promised to him from summer, what that would mean if he does and how it would work in relation to director of football John Murtough’s assignment.

But the former RB Leipzig sporting director revealed he had already made recommendations to the Old Trafford hierarchy after being in charge of the first-team for four months before a huge, long-term restructuring began. They include:

Aping Manchester City and Liverpool by unconditionally recruiting to the new manager’s specific style of play.

Prioritizing physical, aggressive players after completing this roster was physically too soft.

Thorough profiling of a player’s “DNA” before signing.

If you’re willing to accept that, it could take up to three transfer windows to get things sorted, assuming the plan is followed.

“Manchester City and Liverpool … were built together and recruited over a period of five or six years – all based on how the managers want to play,” Rangnick said. “I told the board this had to happen (at United).

“Whenever the new head coach is clear, it has to be: How does he want to play and what kind of players do we need for that?

“Then we come back to DNA, speed, physicality, pace. What do we need? This team does not lack technical players, they can use more physicality. It makes the right decisions and [clarity over] where you want to go: what kind of players, what kind of coach and then try to get the best possible in each transfer window.

“It’s not rocket science. It has to be done, and when that happens, it doesn’t necessarily take three or four years.

“Maybe in two or three transfer windows, then the situation could be different.”

Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal for Leicester on Saturday was a vivid example of the United side’s lack of physicality, cunning and aggression.

After breaking on the break, Fred let Youri Tielemans attack too easily before Bruno Fernandes jumped out of a tackle from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. Paul Pogba then made no attempt to close space to prevent James Maddison from crossing and Alex Telles was too slow and restrained to follow the run of Iheanacho going home.

Rangnick admitted this was one of many examples in the game where United weren’t strong enough. “I don’t think we lack character, but what was evident in some parts of the game was that we were second best in terms of physicality,” he said.

“It was about one-on-one duels. We talked about that counter-moment we had ourselves when they attacked us twice in two seconds (and kept scoring) and the same for some other moments.

“Whenever there was too much physical contact, we were second best.

“We need to get better at that for the rest of this season, but even more so for next season.” Asked about Fernandes’ reaction to Dewsbury-Hall’s tackle, Rangnick said: “The same was true of Fred and he’s one of our physical and aggressive ones Players, but I’m not just talking about this particular moment.

“There were some other moments where I just felt like we could have been more dynamic, more physical and more aggressive, but we weren’t.”

Rangnick asked if that physicality was in the DNA of a number of players in the United squad.

“It has to be a little bit in a player’s DNA, to be honest,” he said.

“It’s difficult to turn a technically great player into a physically aggressive player and we have a lot of people who are technically skilled players.

“On a day where we’re fluid and in our rhythm, we’ve shown in the past that we can outplay other teams, but (Saturday) was difficult. Leicester were aggressive and physical in many parts of the game and we struggled with them.

“It’s difficult to change. I don’t think it has to do with the mindset – it has to do with the DNA of the players.”

Rangnick defended his decision not to start with Marcus Rashford and instead pair Fernandes and Pogba up front after Cristiano Ronaldo missed the game through illness.

He also revealed Luke Shaw was substituted at half-time due to issues related to the surgery he had on a broken leg in 2015.

“He even struggled last week when he was with the England team with his old injury when he had surgery on his broken leg and that showed today,” said Rangnick.

“That’s why we had to replace him at half-time.” There is no quick fix to United’s problems, Ralf Rangnick insists

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