Except Ralf Rangnick of course did nothing of the sort. And why Brendan is not man enough for the big jobs.
Ralf Rangnick is the interim manager of Manchester United so right now has basically one job: To lead this particular group of players into the top four of the Premier League to qualify again for the Champions League. That’s it. That’s all. Full stop.
So when he was asked in a press conference whether United needed a major squad overhaul to compete for the Premier League next season, do you think he a) strung up his current players by saying that yes, they were shite and needed new blood or b) said “I don’t think so” before trying to change the subject to recent performances?
He is not an idiot so he opted for b). So of course…
‘Ralf Rangnick says Manchester United can compete for league title next season’
He really f***ing didn’t; he gave the only viable answer. And we expected more of you, Guardian. And you, The Athletic.
Rangnick was also asked in the same press conference whether he would prefer players like Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial to talk to him behind closed doors rather than release statements on social media, and what do you think he might have possibly said? Did he say that, actually, he would like all future conversations to be conducted on Instagram or did he say “it’s always better” to speak in person? As he is a normal human being, he opted for the latter.
Which is an ‘INSTA-SLAM’ (The Sun), apparently. He ‘has told his players to stop moaning at him on social media’. He might well have done exactly that, but he definitely did not choose the medium of a press conference in which he flat-batted a question with yet another, pretty anodyne answer. ‘STOP MOANING’ is the headline on the back page of the Daily Mail, which is unsurprising but completely misleading as he said nothing of the sort.
On this occasion we didn’t expect more.
The one subject on which Rangnick did not speak in an anodyne way on Monday was in discussing what went wrong against Middlesbrough on Friday night.
“There are two points of criticism that we all have to face.
“One: we wasted too many clear-cut chances, 22 shots inside the box, 10 were massive opportunities and we should easily have been 3-0 up at HT. It should have been 6-1 or 6-2.
“And the other one was 10 seconds before we conceded the goal, it was a perfect counter-pressing situation inside their half, we took away time but not the ball away from them and eight seconds later we were outnumbered in our box, it was a handball goal and I’m still convinced this goal should have been disallowed, but we shouldn’t have allowed this situation.”
So that’s a) finishing and b) the counter-pressing before the Boro goal.
It’s actually quite unusual for a coach to explain such things in detail, but Rangnick clearly overestimated the intelligence of some of the journalists in front of him…
‘INCREDIBLE. Tactical mastermind Ralf: If we start scoring more and stop conceding, we can stay in the top four…we’d be happy with that.’
What an utterly prickish headline.
Rangnick gave an unusually detailed answer and it has been reduced to a facetious headline by Sun subs, buoyed by Neil Custis beginning his press conference piece with the banter that ‘RALF RANGNICK claims Manchester United are improving – but they would be even better if they could score and defend!’.
He actually claimed they would be better if they could counter-press in the opposition half but that’s a difficult one to crowbar into a ‘cor, can you believe this joker?’ headline. And it would rely on somebody understanding the term ‘counter press’.
Don’t mean Jack
There is definitely a theme of footballers acting like pricks in recent weeks but sometimes, just sometimes, footballers are not behaving like pricks but the tabloids are more than happy to lean into the theme. Hence this headline on the Sun football website:
‘Swaying Jack Grealish ‘turned away from bar on night out with Man City pals.’
‘Watch as swaying Jack Grealish ‘is turned away from bar for being too drunk’ on night out with Man City team-mates’
‘JACK GREALISH has been caught on camera being turned away from a bar for being ‘too drunk’ on a night out with his Manchester City team-mates.’
If you are now thinking that Jack Grealish has been turned away from a bar from being too drunk – because you have been told three times – then you are a fool. And that is exposed as quickly as the second paragraph:
‘However, SunSport understands there was simply confusion over which door to go in through.’
However? However? It’s really not just footballers behaving like pricks right now.
We always time for a look at Stan Collymore on a Tuesday and especially when he is on one of his favourite topics: Managers must be real men.
So we read his column on Brendan Rodgers knowing we are going to get here:
‘What they need is someone who will get them playing good football but also have that character, when the going gets tough, to claim a place in the top four, to win a major honour, and I’m not sure Rodgers’ record in England suggests his teams do that.
‘I wonder, then, if a big club was looking at him, Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard, how much that would count against him.’
Where to start? With the fact that Rodgers did actually lead Liverpool into the top four? Or with the fact that Gerrard has only actually managed 12 Premier League matches? At least Lampard has actually led Chelsea into the top four (and Collymore to claim he would win the Premier League title with Chelsea).
And why does Collymore think that Lampard and Gerrard would be better choices for those big jobs (even after Lampard failed at his actual big job)?
‘With Gerrard, you know he’ll have his players running through brick walls for him because it was one of this top qualities as a player.
‘And Lampard the same.
‘He can say to his players that they have to give everything they have got all the time because that’s what he did, and I’m sure they will.’
Yes. And that tack famously worked for Paul Ince, Bryan Robson and Roy Keane as managers. And Lampard at Chelsea, actually.
‘I love Rodgers, I love the way he coaches and wants to play the game, but sometimes I see him writing notes in his book to deliver tactics at half-time and think it might not be enough.
‘Sometimes you need to weigh into players to get them going, and I don’t know if, as a non-playing manager, he can inspire the same respect in players as those two.’
Does somebody want to tell him about Jose Mourinho?
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