Ralf Rangnick calls Manchester United season ‘average’, wows fans ahead of first game against Crystal Palace

Ralf Rangnick relishes the challenge of being Manchester United’s interim manager until the end of the season.

The German takes charge of his first game against United on Sunday when Crystal Palace travels to Old Trafford.

Rangnick takes charge of Man United for the first time

The 63-year-old will be responsible for turning things around after the dismissal of OIe Gunnar Solskjaer, with an essential top four.

The Red Devils are 14 points behind league leaders Man City and Rangnick called the club’s progress so far this season “average.”

Writing in the Manchester United schedule, Rangnick said: “Good afternoon. Managing Manchester United, even on an interim basis, is a huge challenge, but for me I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time.

“I’ve been here at Old Trafford before, as an opposition coach with Schalke in the 2011 Champions League semi-finals, while watching games from the stands on other occasions. I have also visited Manchester several times while my oldest son spent three months studying at university here, and am delighted to be back.

“Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world. There is so much history here, so many titles won, so many great players produced and developed.

Ralf Rangnick calls Manchester United season 'average', wows fans ahead of first game against Crystal Palace
Rangnick will be in charge until the end of the season

“Right now I’m here because development is what has to happen again. No one at the club is happy to be where we are in the Premier League table. It has been an average season so far, there is no avoiding it but the club have players who are much better than the position we are currently in and it is my job to improve those players and this position.

“There are some very experienced players in the squad, as well as a lot of talented young players. I watch guys like Jadon Sancho, who I know from the Bundesliga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, and I can’t wait to work with the whole squad and help them all make the most of their obvious talent.

“The first step in getting there is a change in the way the collective approaches games. If you want to win a soccer game, you have to control it, so the objective at the moment is to help the team to better control the matches. It means being more proactive with and without the ball.

“It’s important, first of all, to start winning games regularly in the short term and then step by step build the team in the right direction beyond that. We want to train players’ brains and encourage them to do the right things until they become second nature.

Ralf Rangnick calls Manchester United season 'average', wows fans ahead of first game against Crystal Palace
Rangnick hopes to make a quick impact at Old Trafford

“It’s hard to look too far, of course. I’m here as a transition manager until the end of the season, but in the very short term my priority must be to get to know the players. Obviously, it’s not easy right away because I have arrived perhaps at the busiest time of the season and there are very few gaps in the calendar!

“At the end of the day we all want Manchester United to perform and play in style. We all have a lot of work to do to get there and I’m very excited about the process, but today we welcome Crystal Palace, led by Patrick Vieira, and finding a way to win this first game is my only goal.

“It’s a challenge, especially with so little preparation time, but it’s a challenge that I relish.”

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