Incoming Manchester United interim head coach Ralf Rangnick had no personal input in team selection or tactical approach against Chelsea.
Manchester United secured a creditable 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, holding the Premier League leaders despite being outshot 24 to three. Read 16 Conclusions if you want.
The visitors actually led for almost 20 minutes when Jadon Sancho capitalised on a Jorginho mistake to score, only for Chelsea’s Italian midfielder to equalise from the penalty spot.
Antonio Rudiger missed a gilt-edged stoppage-time chance and Fred lofted an effort into Edouard Mendy’s arms as both sides battled for the win, with Chelsea coming closest.
While there was a notable difference in Manchester United’s approach, with the forwards pressing much higher and with more purpose and cohesion, both managers insisted it had nothing to do with Rangnick’s influence.
Rangnick to Man Utd feels like an outbreak of common sense
Thomas Tuchel simply replied “no, not at all,” when asked whether the opposition looked like one of his compatriot’s teams, while current interim manager Michael Carrick dismissed any suggestion that Rangnick had any sway.
“That’s not the case, no,” he said after it was put to him that his calls were made with the German’s eventual appointment in mind.
“We came here with a plan. I kind of knew how Chelsea would play and we wanted to stop the passes through to Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. There were a few changes to freshen it up and it’s what we decided to go with today. We almost pulled it off.”
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher felt that Rangnick’s influence had already had an effect, however, claiming: “In terms of pressing, certainly in these opening 45 seconds, Manchester United are looking to press from the front with Bruno, Rashford and Sancho.”
He continued: “[It shows] why Cristiano Ronaldo has found himself on the bench. [It will] be interesting to see how long they can keep that going.”
David Ornstein of The Athletic has confirmed that Carrick’s decision were his and his alone. He writes:
‘Rangnick watched United’s 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on television in Germany and had no contact with the players or coaching staff, or any input on team selection.’
In the same article, Ornstein sheds some light on the negotiations between Rangnick and Manchester United.
He reports that, ‘unusually for a world-class manager,’ the German has represented himself in talks instead of using an agent or representative.