SPORT: Football
Ralf Rangnick warns it could take 18 months to fix Manchester United’s many issues.

Ralf Rang­nick has warned that it could take 18 months to com­plete­ly fix Man­ches­ter Unit­ed’s issues and make them a force to be reck­oned with again.

Despite a promis­ing sum­mer in the trans­fer mar­ket with the arrivals of Cris­tiano Ronal­do, Jadon San­cho and Raphael Varane, it has been anoth­er huge­ly dis­ap­point­ing sea­son for the Red Dev­ils as they have once again fall­en way short of title con­tenders Man­ches­ter City and Liverpool.

Rang­nick replaced Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer in the dugout in Novem­ber, but is fac­ing a bat­tle to qual­i­fy for next sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League – a 1–1 draw at home to Leices­ter on Sat­ur­day left Unit­ed in sev­enth place and three points behind the top four.

The Ger­man is set to take on a con­sul­tan­cy role at Old Traf­ford in the sum­mer and he has already made rec­om­men­da­tions to the club’s board about how a long-term rebuild should be structured.

It cen­tres around Unit­ed’s next per­ma­nent man­ag­er, with Ajax’s Erik ten Hag still the favourite for the role and PSG boss Mauri­cio Pochet­ti­no also in the running.

‘Man­ches­ter City and Liv­er­pool… have been built togeth­er and recruit­ed over a peri­od of five or six years — all of them under the premise of how the coach­es want to play,’ Rang­nick said. ‘I told the board this is what has 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, tem­po. What do we need? This team does not lack tech­ni­cal play­ers, it can do with more physicality.

‘It takes right deci­sions and [clar­i­ty over] where you want to go: what kind of play­ers, what kind of man­ag­er and then, in every trans­fer win­dow, try to get the best possible.

‘This is not rock­et sci­ence. It has to be done and, if that hap­pens, it does not nec­es­sar­i­ly need three or four years. Maybe in two or three trans­fer win­dows, then the sit­u­a­tion could be different.’

Unit­ed’s phys­i­cal­i­ty issues were high­light­ed in their draw with Leices­ter, as Kelechi Iheana­cho opened the scor­ing with a free head­er from eight yards out after no one tracked his run and the Fox­es had been allowed to burst for­ward down the left hand side and deliv­er a cross.

In a damn­ing assess­ment of the team’s cur­rent prob­lems, Rang­nick blast­ed the ‘DNA’ of play­ers and how they need­ed to be more aggressive.

‘I don’t think we have a lack of char­ac­ter but what was obvi­ous in some parts of the game is we were sec­ond best with regards to phys­i­cal­i­ty,’ he said.

‘It was about one on one duels. We spoke about that counter-attack­ing moment we had our­selves where they tack­led us twice, with­in two sec­onds [and went on to score] and the same was true in quite a few oth­er moments.

The Red Dev­ils have once again fall­en way short of Man­ches­ter City and Liv­er­pool this season

‘When­ev­er there was body con­tact, too often we were sec­ond best. That is some­thing we have to get bet­ter at for the rest of this sea­son but even more so for next season.

‘There were quite a few moments where I just felt we could.

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