Ralf Rangnick takes another step to correct Man Utd’s glaring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer issue

Ralf Rangnick may have been dealt a blow in not being able to see his players – but he has wasted no time in continuing his ambitious Manchester United overhaul.

The German boss, who has overseen two wins from his first three games in charge, had planned for an intense week of training with no midweek fixtures on the schedule.

Those plans were thrown into disarray earlier this month when a Covid-19 outbreak forced two postponements and for their Carrington training ground complex to be closed for more than a week.

United players have been arriving in their dribs and drabs over the last 48-hours, with Rangnick introducing staggered training times to negate the risk of another spread.

Before fixtures against Brentford and Brighton were postponed, there were signs of what the 63-year-old tactician is trying to implement at Old Trafford.

Gone were the laboured and slow displays too often seen under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, instead replaced with a high energy, high pressing system fans will quickly get on board with.

But it’s not just the product on the pitch that the Godfather of Gegenpressing is being tasked with transforming, after being promised a consultancy role from next summer.

United’s approach behind-the-scenes has been derided in recent seasons, with many believing they have been left behind their Premier League rivals.

In terms of the coaching setup, Rangnick has had to be on the front foot, replacing Solskjaer’s former assistants Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna.

Carrick decided to leave his role in the aftermath of his caretaker spell, while McKenna has been given his first crack at management in League One with Ipswich.

Sports psychologist Sascha Lense and former New York Red Bull head coach Chris Armas had already been recruited, with Ewan Sharp becoming the latest appointment on Wednesday.

Sharp has amassed almost a decade of experience working within the confines of the Red Bull system, spending a number of years as analyst in New York.

The Toronto Sun described his role as ‘working closely with coaching staff, playing an important part in opposition scouting, match planning, pre- and post-match analysis and assisting the scouting department in identification and recruitment’.

He will now be tasked with implementing something that was often missing under the stewardship of Solskjaer, developing a clearly identifiable style of play.

“It was an embarrassment,” Rio Ferdinand told Vibe with FIVE after United’s 5-0 defeat to Liverpool earlier this season. “I’ve been there, we got beat 6-1 at home by Man City. But we had an identity to fall back on in a couple of weeks.

“This is the problem for this team, they’re struggling to find an identity and who they are.

“These are the questions, when you watch the game, you think ‘what are we?’

“Is the manager giving the players the right information? And if so, are the players not taking on the information?”

Sharp is all too aware of the importance of bringing in a discernible identity across the entire football club.

While at Red Bulls, he explained: “Our style is something which is really well communicated throughout the organisation, the characteristics we look for in first-team players. We try to instil that in the academy players, the USL team (feeder team) adopts a very similar shape and playing style to the first team.

“In my role this is hugely beneficial, it helps me in opposition analysis, post-game analysis, the way I go about communicating with players. Without it, it would be very difficult to know what to look for when looking at games.

“For me, the biggest benefit of having this well defined playing style is the players are clear of their expectations, they know what the coaching staff is looking for and what is expected of them when they go out and perform.”


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