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Owen Hargreaves makes Chelsea vs Manchester United prediction and rates Ralf Rangnick appointment


Manchester United are set to appoint Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis (Picture: Getty)

Owen Hargreaves says Manchester United are hiring an ‘innovator’ in Ralf Rangnick and believes ‘the sky is the limit’ for the German given he has ‘overachieved’ in all of his previous jobs.

The Red Devils are expected to announce Rangnick as their interim manager in the next 24 to 48 hours in the wake of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking last week.

Rangnick, currently head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow, is set to put pen to paper on a six-month deal at the Theatre of Dreams and will take over the reins with the club languishing down in eighth in the Premier League table.

Widely credited with developing ‘gegenpressing’, Rangnick has inspired a host of top managers in his native Germany including Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, Ralph Hasenhuttl and Julian Nagelsmann.

The United job is undoubtedly Rangnick’s biggest appointment to date, though, with the 63-year-old previously managing the likes of Stuttgart, Hannover, Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig across a coaching career spanning nearly four decades.

Giving his reaction on Premier League Productions, ex-United and Bayern Munich midfielder Hargreaves said he felt the Old Trafford giants had made a very shrewd decision by opting for Rangnick.

‘Every job he touched he improved significantly,’ he said.

‘The first time it was Ulm, a tiny little team and they came out of nowhere. You think about Hoffenheim and you think about the Red Bull projects, Leipzig and Salzburg.

‘He is an innovator and he’s a football man and that’s a beautiful thing.

‘He’s got great experience, he plays the right way. When my Bayern Munich team played against them in the Bundesliga we didn’t have to do too much in terms of detail because we were better than the opposition most of the time, but you notice.

‘They beat one of Jurgen Klopp’s teams 4-1 and after Jurgen Klopp said he wanted his teams to play like that. How big a compliment do you want to make somebody?’

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Both Klopp and Tuchel have discussed the impact Rangnick has had on their respective careers this week, with the Chelsea manager describing his fellow countryman as a ‘huge influence’.

And Hargreaves revealed a message he sent Bastian Schweinsteiger when the reports first broke, joking that German managers were ‘taking over’ the English top flight.

‘You think about the way he’s inspired other managers,’ Hargreaves added.

‘I texted one of my friends, Bastian Schweinsteiger, today and I said: ‘Listen, the Germans are taking over the Premier League!”

‘It’s amazing because they did just a great job of educating these coaches, the next generation, and that’s great. A lot of the best coaches all around the world are German at the moment.

‘Credit to him for inspiring that generation and maybe they’ve taken on his teachings and tweaked it a little bit to their style. But to get a compliment from Tuchel and Klopp, you couldn’t get any bigger ones.’

Hargreaves is confident Rangnick is a good fit for United (Picture: Getty)

The ex-England international is not concerned by the lack of silverware on Rangnick’s CV considering he’s never had a squad with the quality United boast.

‘Ralf Rangnick took Schalke to a Champions League semi-final and that wasn’t a team that should have been in a Champions League semi-final,’ he went on.

‘I can’t think of one job he’s done where he hasn’t overachieved.

‘The whole trophy thing, I’m not too worried about that because he’s never had a group of players like this.

‘For his body of work and all the years he’s had in football, this is a gift to him.

‘He’s probably not 100 per cent sure either, but it’s an exciting opportunity to take that group with his experience.

‘I think the sky is the limit, but he’s going to have to get in there are see, “When can I push and when can I back off and when do I have to bring the older guys on board – the [Raphael] Varanes and [Cristiano] Ronaldos – and get their opinion?”, because I think it’s going to be delicate the first few weeks.’

Hargreaves can envisage United going on a winning streak over the coming weeks, but feels the side will come out second best away to Premier League leaders Chelsea tomorrow.

‘The fixtures are very kind to them so you could see them going on a really big run and then I think his position is significantly improved,’ he continued.

‘Forget the Chelsea one! [laughs] They’re not going to win that!’

Asked for his score prediction, Hargreaves replied: ‘I think Chelsea win 2-1.’


MORE : Mikel Arteta explains decision to drop Alexandre Lacazette for Arsenal’s clash against Newcastle


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