Ralf Rangnick has warned that there is no simple quick fix to get Manchester United out of the mess that they find themselves in following a disastrous season at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils slumped to a tipped 1-1 draw with Leicester City in front of a restless home crowd, that in truth they probably deserved to lose, to take them further away from Champions League qualification next season.
It means that they currently sit three points behind Tottenham, who currently occupy fourth spot, while Arsenal are also three clear points of Rangnick’s side but have two games in hand on both clubs.
It also means that United may face a season back in the Europa League, a competition that they thought they had become too good for after winning it under Jose Mourinho (their last major trophy).
And, like the fact that the club have not quickly fallen into this mess, Rangnick has warned that there is no quick or easy way out of the massive slump in which they find themselves.
Indeed, the former Leipzig manager warned that it could take two or three transfer windows of spot on recruitment and spending to even begin to make a difference on the Red Devils squad. Spending has not been a problem in recent times for the club, but spending in the right areas has been a major issue, with only perhaps Bruno Fernandes justifying his transfer fee.
And Rangnick warned that this has to change, with more joined-up thinking needed.
‘It takes right decisions and where you want to go to, what kind of players, what kind of manager, and then in every transfer window try to get the best possible solutions,’ he said
‘This is 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 two or three transfer windows – then the situation could be different.’
United setting up to fail?
The problem that Manchester United may now find, however, is that their transition to a ‘modern’ side in the image of Rangnick or perhaps Erik Ten Hag, who is heavily linked to the job, will require them to bypass their best and most expensive players.
Harry Maguire, so comfortable in a deep block, lacks the skills to play in a high defensive line, while David De Gea lacks the skills of a modern goalkeeper, with his lack of ability to use his feet a reason that he was overlooked by Luis Enrique in the most recent Spain squad.
Meanwhile, Bruno Fernandes, to whom Manchester United have just handed a five-year contract until 2027, has been previously described as ‘tactically anarchic’. That is before you even begin to address the clear lack of quality in other areas of the squad, most notably central midfield which has been neglected for almost half a decade.
There is plenty to do at Old Trafford, and lots of hard decisions to make. So far, there is no evidence that anyone is willing to make them.
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Premier League table
|8||West Ham United||30||10||48|
|13||Brighton & Hove Albion||30||-10||34|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||20|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||14|
|Jota, Diogo||Liverpool FC||14|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur||12|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||12|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||12|
|Tony, Ivan||Brentford FC||11|
|Mahrez, Riyad||Manchester City||10|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester City||10|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City||10|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||10|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||9|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||9|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||9|
|Saka, Bukayo||Arsenal FC||9|
|Smith-Rowe, Emile||Arsenal FC||9|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace||9|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||8|
|Antonio, Michael||West Ham United||8|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Neves, Ruben||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||9|
|Mings, Tyrone||Aston Villa||0||9|
|Mctominay, Scott||Manchester United||0||9|
|Firpo, Junior||Leeds United||0||9|
|Salisu, Mohammed||Southampton FC||0||8|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||0||7|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||0||8|
|Moreno, Rodrigo||Leeds United||0||8|
|Cash, Matty||Aston Villa||0||8|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa||0||8|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||0||8|
|Shaw, Luke||Manchester United||0||8|
|Romeu, Oriol||Southampton FC||0||8|
|Brownhill, Josh||Burnley FC||0||8|
|Maguire, Harry||Manchester United||0||7|
|Romero, Christian||Tottenham Hotspur||0||8|
|Bissouma, Yves||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||8|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||0||7|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||1||6|
|Jimenez, Raul||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||5|
|Alexander-Arnold, Trent||Liverpool FC||11|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||10|
|Robertson, Andy||Liverpool FC||10|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||9|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||8|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur||7|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||7|
|Lacazette, Alexandre||Arsenal FC||7|
|Barnes, Harvey||Leicester City||7|
|Jesus, Gabriel||Manchester City||7|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||6|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||6|
|Antonio, Michael||West Ham United||6|
|Benrahma, Said||West Ham United||6|
|James, Rece||Chelsea FC||6|
|Mbeumo, Bryan||Brentford FC||6|
|Cancelo, Joao||Manchester City||6|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||5|
|Saka, Bukayo||Arsenal FC||5|
|Ings, Danny||Aston Villa||5|