Obsessive Ralf Rangnick will bring an intense fire to Manchester United as he strives to return the club to former glory.
Counterpart and former Bayern Munich technical director Michael Reschke has long pitted his wits against Rangnick and is under no illusion that United’s new interim coach is one of the greatest football brains in Europe: an intense, meticulous planner with an incredible work ethic.
‘Ralf will expect his staff to work 18 hours a day at Manchester United… or maybe 17 because even he recognises they have a right to sleep,’ says Reschke only half-joking.
Ralf Rangnick has been tipped to bring glory back to Manchester United when he takes charge
Former Bayern Munich technical director Michael Reschke (R) has lavished praise on Rangnick
‘He obsesses about work, about football. Even on Christmas Eve, knowing how important it is for you to be wrapping presents or gifting to your children, he would think nothing of calling you at 9pm because he had an important idea. He is a deep, deep thinker.
‘He will be on fire at the prospect of taking on this challenge. He is one hundred per cent ready for it. Manchester United have fascinated him completely for years. They may have only called him on Sunday but I guarantee he had already watched their last 20 games.
‘When he walked into his interview on Tuesday, he would have known every player and detail about them.
Simply, Ralf is the man who changed German football the most in the past 20 years but he has always wanted the challenge of the Premier League. To compete in the number one league in the world will complete his career.’
According to Reschke, Rangnick obsesses about football and expects his staff to work hard
United didn’t know ‘what to do with the ball’ in their defeat at Watford, David de Gea claimed
When David de Gea spoke after United’s humiliating 4-1 defeat to Watford, the game that sealed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s fate, the Spanish goalkeeper spoke of his teammates ‘not knowing what to do with the ball’ or ‘how to defend properly’.
‘Ralf will have a clear plan for every player,’ says Reschke. ‘There will be a clear plan of how to act in defence, how to create in attack, what to do if you have a red card and what the other team are going to do. The quality of his analysis is outstanding.’
Rangnick has already asked for different camera footage from United’s training sessions as he prepares to take charge from next week and has spoken to Darren Fletcher about his thoughts on tactics.
That is no surprise to Reschke who has formed a strong bond with Rangnick since their days as U19 coaches at Bayer Leverkusen and Stuttgart respectively.
Rangnick has already asked for United training footage as he prepares to step in next week
United’s technical director Darren Fletcher (right) has now spoken to Rangnick about tactics
The two meet up when possible and had a convivial lunch together a fortnight ago at Hotel Sonnenhof, in picturesque Aspach, north of Stuttgart. The topic of conversation is nearly always football.
‘Ralf is 63 and I am 64. I first encountered him when we came up against each other in the U19 Cup. It was an experience when I knew this guy is on a different level to me. Technically and the way his team was structured I could see he was going to be top class and I have followed him ever since.
‘I wouldn’t say we are close friends, we wouldn’t go on holiday together, nor is he really one for a beer but we have a great mutual respect.
‘Once when I had just moved from Leverkusen to Bayern Munich, we were both invited to a magazine awards dinner. There was a crowd of around 30 people between us as we walked in the room at the same time and Ralf shouted across “Here is Bayern Munich’s best transfer of the season!”
Rangnick is the man who changed German football the most in the past 20 years, Reschke says
‘He is a special character, a very intelligent man who speaks perfect English. I know from two weeks ago that he had been studying United and how they could change.
‘I am confident he will make it a success, the only handicap is that is he coming in during a season where the team plays a game every four days or so. It may mean he will only be able to create little steps forward at first.’
The reverence in which Reschke holds Rangnick is clear and it is shared by coaches such as Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, Julian Nagelsmann and Pep Guardiola.
Rangnick was credited with developing the gegenpressing that is so symptomatic of Tuchel and Klopp’s styles.
Jurgen Klopp (right) is among the large number of managers who eulogise about Rangnick
Rangnick has also influenced Thomas Tuchel’s (right) style and handed him his first ever role
‘He was the first coach in Germany to really abandon sweepers and play with a defensive four that could work in the pressing system. Pep is rightly regarded as an idol for so many, a great innovator who influenced the world of coaching but Ralf was a huge influence on how Germany changed for the better.
‘He loves working with quick, young players and the likes of Sancho, Rashford, Greenwood and Martial will all enjoy being with him. Ronaldo too I think will enjoy because like Ralf he is a very professional man who intensely wants to win.
‘He will bring in his own staff and analysts as he knows exactly what he wants to do. He knows how he wants to improve Manchester United and will have a very clear plan. This is the chance he has been dreaming about.’