Erik ten Hag will need Manchester United players to buy into his vision if he’s to succeed at Old Trafford. And, by distancing himself from Ralf Rangnick, the 52-year-old has already made a smart move. The Dutchman has already started work as he looks to restore the glory days at the club, who have failed to get anywhere near winning the Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
Rangnick was hired as United’s interim boss back in December, shortly after the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
John Murtough believed the 63-year-old was the right man to restore order at Old Trafford, with the club still hopeful of winning a trophy and qualifying for the Champions League at the time.
Yet, months on, it would be no understatement to say Rangnick’s reign at the club was a disastrous one.
Arriving with a big reputation, having fared well at the likes of RB Leipzig, Schalke and Hoffenheim in the past, the German was meant to save their season.
Instead, it only got worse.
Rangnick did not just fail when it came to getting results, with the 63-year-old amassing a win percentage of just 37.9 per cent during his time in the dugout.
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But he also failed to master the dressing room, with players not taking to him right from the very beginning.
He angered Jesse Lingard by regularly leaving him out – forcing the player’s brother into venting his fury when the 29-year-old was not given a farewell appearance.
Rangnick had his issues with Cristiano Ronaldo and his decision to keep picking Harry Maguire, among others, divided the squad.
What also did not help was his willingness to be so forthright, even if his words were welcomed by many United supporters.
His words about needing as many as ’10 signings’ rankled with the squad, believing he was throwing them under the bus.
And the good thing about United’s 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Sunday was that it signals the end of his time as manager.
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Ten Hag was asked about Rangnick’s role as a consultant at his unveiling earlier in the week.
And the Dutchman made the shrewd call of distancing himself from the German.
“That is on the club,” he simply said before staring at reports as though they’d be wise to leave the matter alone.
Ten Hag also spoke of his desire to leave United ‘unified’ after a disastrous campaign where they finished sixth in the Premier League table.
“The current situation is obviously not that good. It’s a big challenge, ”he said.
He added: “I want to build and construct a team who are battling for each other, who are unified and who will get results.
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“Also, we are playing in the ‘Theater of Dreams’ – we want to entertain. But in the end, the intention is to play fantastic football.
“If we can’t play fantastic football, we still have to win.”
Division has been rife at United all season long.
There are cliques inside the dressing room but Rangnick, in the eyes of the players, hasn’t helped matters.
United will want to forget the 63-year-old’s failed stint as manager as quickly as possible as they look to reel in Liverpool and Manchester City.
And Ten Hag is keen to ‘draw his own line’ as he looks t build a dynasty like Ferguson did during his spell at the dugout.
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Speaking at his unveiling, the Dutchman also revealed he found the challenge at United ‘exciting’.
And he also acknowledged the history of the Red Devils, saying: “Of course. I know the history of Man United, I know the big times and the audience, the vibe that can be around Old Trafford.
“I watched them in their big times, when Sir Alex Ferguson was manager, during the really successful times when they won titles and were dominating Europe.
“But also before Sir Alex, Man United was a really big club and I know names like Busby and Charlton that gave Man United a presence to the outside world from winning, and winning in a spectacular way, winning so they entertain people.
“What stays with me is there was always a fighting culture. They fight together and they get success. ”