Manchester United: How Ralf Rangnick blueprint backfired to underline Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea heroics

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
Manchester United: How Ralf Rangnick blueprint backfired to underline Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea heroics
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

If Manchester United were looking for the Thomas Tuchel effect, it did not work.

Chelsea’s manager was on their wanted list, both before and after he took up his role at Stamford Bridge — and had he shown any indication he would be willing to succeed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, then he would have been considered a serious rival to Erik ten Hag for the job.

In the meantime, United were looking for a quick fix — and it was Tuchel’s mentor, Ralf Rangnick, to whom they turned in December. The hope was the German could inspire the type of dramatic turnaround that saw Chelsea go from a calamity in the final weeks of Frank Lampard’s reign to Champions League winners inside four months under his replacement.

Football is not always so simple and, not for the first time, United have found that out the hard way.

Rangnick can point to the mess he inherited at Old Trafford, but his reputation will not escape unscathed from his thoroughly underwhelming stewardship that has seen him produce just 10 wins from 25 games and looks certain to see the club miss out on Champions League qualification.

Ralf Rangnick has failed to fix what ails Manchester United during his interim spell in charge (Manchester United via Getty Images)
Ralf Rangnick has failed to fix what ails Manchester United during his interim spell in charge (Manchester United via Getty Images)

His brutal assessments of his squad have struck a chord with fans, who have run out of patience with the likes of Paul Pogba, but it ignores that this is largely the same group of players who finished second last season.

The question United’s hierarchy may well ask is: how would they have fared with Tuchel in charge?

Rangnick’s struggles only underline the remarkable job carried out by his protege, who has won three trophies in less than a season-and-a-half at Chelsea, reached six finals and could add a fourth piece of silverware in the form of the FA Cup next month.

On top of that, he secured his minimum target of fourth place when parachuted in after Lampard’s team went into freefall last year — and is set to improve on that by finishing third in his first full season.

If Rangnick can use the ongoing mess of United’s structure as mitigation, Tuchel might point to the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich as a potential distraction.

It would be harsh to judge Rangnick on his failure to turn United around; rather, it points to just how impressive Tuchel has been.

The Chelsea manager’s opinion of his United counterpart has not altered — but he is honest enough to admit that his mentor will be assessed on his time here, regardless of his stellar reputation as an inspiration to a generation of German coaches, such as Tuchel, Jurgen Klopp and Julian Nagelsmann.

“I think it is a problem for all coaches, me included, that we are judged on what you see,” said Tuchel, ahead of tonight’s clash at Old Trafford.

“We are judged on what you see in the moment. You judge me when we lose two home games. I cannot say, ‘I won the Champions League some months before’. It is past.

“This is about the present and maybe the future, but much more about the present, and this is how you get judged.

“It is maybe not always our fault and our full responsibility, but you can twist it and turn it how you want — and it is why it is not only for him, but me and everybody.

Rangnick’s struggles are in contrast to the heroics performed by former protege Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea (Getty Images)
Rangnick’s struggles are in contrast to the heroics performed by former protege Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea (Getty Images)

“He [Rangnick] stepped into the Premier League and he will be judged for this. It has nothing to do with how big an influence he was in German football and what great stuff he did with Leipzig and Hoffenheim and earlier days with Hanover. You need to prove yourself on an almost daily basis — maybe every three days. This is not always nice.”

Tuchel yesterday reiterated his own commitment to Chelsea, despite the uncertainty surrounding the club, as the sale process reaches its final stages.

Keeping him happy should be a priority to the new owner, be that Todd Boehly, Sir Martin Broughton or Steve Pagliuca.

United, meanwhile, have put their faith in Ten Hag to finally reignite the club after the failures of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer.

“I am not concerned about Manchester United,” said Tuchel. “It is not my job and they will always recover. It is a huge club and the squad is full of individual talent. I am not involved, we have enough to do here.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting