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‘Realistic’ Rangnick warns its could be ‘months’ before Man Utd are able to compete with Premier League’s best

New interim boss Ralf Rangnick has warned it could be ‘months’ before Manchester United are able to compete with the Premier League’s top sides, as he prepares to take charge for the first time against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

The 63-year-old will be in the dugout for the first time since his appointment was officially announced earlier this week, having watched on from the stands as United recovered from an early setback to clinch a vital 3-2 win over Arsenal on Thursday evening.

That victory was Michael Carrick’s final match in charge as caretaker boss – the Englishman since going on to leave the club altogether – with the former midfielder overseeing two wins and a draw from his three games at the helm to adequately steady the ship after what was a turbulent end to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure.

Rangnick’s task now will be to try and revive the club’s fortunes over the coming months and lift them from their current slump, albeit with the main goal seemingly to secure a top-four spot with any hopes of a title challenge having been dashed in recent months.

Ahead of his debut outing as United manager this weekend, the former Schalke boss has spoken of his connection to two of the division’s leading coaches – Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel – with Rangnick having played his part in the development of his fellow countrymen.

“Jurgen and myself have known each other since 1997. We’ve always had a good relationship,” he said at his pre-match press conference ahead of the Crystal Palace game. “He called me before his first job as head coach at Mainz. He asked me what kind of money he should be asking for because he didn’t have an agent.

“I advised him and he said, ‘Ah, do you not think that is too much to ask?’ I told him it was the right thing to do — and I am pretty sure he got what he wanted.

“With Thomas it is different. He was my player at Ulm first, but only for six months because he had to finish his career because of a knee injury. Two years later, when I was at Stuttgart, I asked him if he wanted to become the coach of our Under-15s team and that was the start of his coaching career.

“To do what he did in four months to win the Champions League at Chelsea was incredible.”

The incoming boss has, however, sought to temper expectations among the club’s expectant fanbase, as he admitted it will take time to turn his new players into the ‘pressing monsters’ that he demands and as such it will be a process before the Red Devils can compete again with the top-flight’s best sides.

“I am more than optimistic, but I also have to be realistic,” he said. “Five weeks ago, our team lost 5-0 against Liverpool — and it could have been a lot more if we are honest.

“Against City it was 2-0 — but it could also have been more. It was important to win the point at Chelsea but the performance? I don’t know. They had 24 shots on goal and we had three.

“So right now, to say I will challenge the top Premier League managers in the next few weeks or months, is not realistic.

“I cannot turn the players we have into the pressing monsters I want them to be within two, three or four weeks. The same happened to Jurgen when he came in the middle of the season.

“Liverpool had a lot of muscle injuries in that time because they were not used to that kind of training so we have to be smart.”

Read – The longest waits for a win at the start of a Premier League season

Read Also – Remembering every Premier League player to finish on the Ballon d’Or podium

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