Ralf Rangnick tactics: Four ways that Man Utd could line up under ex-RB Leipzig coach

  • Kobe Tong

Ralf Rangnick is on the brink of taking over at Manchester United.

According to the BBC, the Red Devils are close to appointing Rangnick as their interim manager on a six-month contract after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last week.

The 63-year-old has reportedly agreed terms to leave his position as the head of sports and development at Spartak Moscow to take over at Old Trafford in the coming days.

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As such, United fans are starting to imagine what a world under Rangnick might look like as the former RB Leipzig boss looks to steer them through the remainder of the 2021/22 campaign.

Although Rangnick’s main role will be curating a positive environment for Solskjaer’s permanent successor to enter in the summer, there is still plenty for fans to be excited about in the meantime.

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Besides, the German’s grounding in the philosophy of ‘heavy metal’ football will surely reinvigorate this United squad from the sorry displays of late to an energetic sprint into a new way of working.

And while we won’t truly know how United will look under Rangnick until he steps into the technical area, his well-publicised tactical playbook means that we can form a pretty substantiated estimate.

Ways Man Utd could line up under Rangnick

As such, here at GIVEMESPORT, we wanted to look into our crystal ball and read the tea leaves to imagine four ways that the Red Devils could line up under Rangnick’s stewardship this season.

From deploying his tried and tested 4-2-2-2 formation to being able to spend some money in the January transfer market, be sure to check out some of Rangnick’s options with United down below:

1. Rangnick’s classic 4-2-2-2

If Rangnick does indeed turn to the formation that worked so brilliantly for him at Red Bull Salzburg then it’s time for supporters to get excited because it looks truly formidable with United’s resources.

Playing the indefatigable Edinson Cavani could be a masterstroke to take some of the pressing responsibilities away from Cristiano Ronaldo as Rangnick looks to channel his high-energy football.

And this will suit Donny van de Beek down to the ground with his box-to-box dynamism, along with the equally spritely and combative Bruno Fernandes, fitting hand in glove with Rangnick’s approach.

Then, given Rangnick’s past reservations surrounding Luke Shaw, we wouldn’t be surprised if the more attacking-inclined Telles gets the nod to press high and cause overloads in the opposition half.

Finally, given how highly Rangnick has spoken about Sancho in the past, don’t be surprised if this managerial switch is exactly what the doctor ordered to get his United career firing on all cylinders.


2. Working with United’s 4-3-3

However, all that being said, Rangnick is incredibly adaptable with the formation that best suits his philosophy and could well come to the conclusion that United’s trusty 4-3-3 is still the way forward.

If that proves to be the case, then there could be a little more pressure on Fred as an out-and-out defensive midfielder, which has proven to be a shaky position for him in the past.

As such, Nemanja Matic might be favoured within this formation in certain games but overall, we still think that Fred is the most appropriate solution to win back possession and play progressive passes.

And although this approach would likely spell bad news for Cavani – surely even Rangnick couldn’t drop Ronaldo? – it paves the way for Rashford to reinherit the left wing role that he’s made his own.


3. If he can spend in January

Now, we’re straying into slightly more unrealistic territory here, but let’s pretend that Rangnick is given some loose change to play around with in January to make a few tweaks to his starting XI.

However, we’ve got to bear in mind that Rangnick’s expertise largely lie in German-speaking nations and that he has a track record for insisting upon signing players with relatively younger ages.

The clear and obvious room for improvement is in defensive midfield and it’s not impossible that the Red Devils could strike a deal for Denis Zakaria, 25, with his Borussia Monchengladbach deal running out in the summer.

Similarly, Rangnick might well feel as though 24-year-old Nordi Mukiele – who made his RB Leipzig breakthrough under the German – suits his system better than Aaron Wan-Bissaka or Diogo Dalot.


4. Working with youth in cup games

But not every game that Rangnick will oversee as United’s interim boss will require the best possible XI available with FA Cup ties, in particular, perhaps playing into his love for developing youth.

Therefore, it’s not implausible to imagine that Teden Mengi, Amad Diallo and Hannibal Mejbri will be given the chance to shine alongside players on the fringes of the Premier League starting XI.

And similarly, we can definitely see a world in which Dalot thrives under Rangnick’s rock and roll football, while Anthony Martial has proven in the past that he can fill a Roberto Firmino-like role.


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Exciting times for Man Utd

Happy, United fans? You should be, because don’t be surprised if Rangnick’s fresh approach means that players who struggled under Solskjaer start to feel like brand new signings.

Van de Beek looks like the dictionary definition of a Rangnick player, Telles may well gain consistent game time at left-back, Fred could start to rediscover his finest United form and so much more.

So, regardless of what Rangnick formation plays and whether or not he gets some January pocket money, United fans can start to feel very excited about the 2021/22 season under his leadership.



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