Ralf Rangnick has hit back at Louis van Gaal by insisting that if the Dutchman thinks Manchester United are only a commercial club he should not have taken the manager’s job at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal has warned Erik ten Hag not to become United’s next permanent manager because of his belief that the club is only interested in making money rather than winning on the pitch.
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But at a news conference Friday, interim boss Rangnick fired back by insisting United can still have a “bright future” and highlighting that Van Gaal himself was happy to take on the job in 2014.
“Louis himself as an experienced coach signed a contract here some five or six years ago and he could have known that in advance if he had that opinion,” Rangnick said.
“I think football worldwide and even more so in the English Premier League when any rich person or company can buy a club, as long as they pass the fit and proper person test, is a commercialised business, that’s for sure.
“No matter which club in which city. What I can only tell you from the last four months is that this is a club with a big tradition with a close relationship with the supporters and to the whole city, region and area.
“For me, it’s a great club and if the club draws the right conclusions on what’s happened in the last couple of years — yes, the last couple of years have not been as good as expected — but if they draw the right conclusions I still see a very bright future for this club.”
Ten Hag is among the front-runners for the job at United along with Mauricio Pochettino and Luis Enrique.
The new man will be tasked with bringing the Premier League title back to Old Trafford for the first time since 2013 and challenging regularly in the Champions League, and Rangnick believes the key to success is fixing the club’s recruitment.
“In the end it’s about recruitment, having the right players, signing the right players at the right time, not signing wrong players at the wrong time,” the German said.
“It’s pretty easy in football, it’s about having a recruitment process and what kind of players do we really need for which kind of football and what do we stand for and then again have the best possible manager to fit into that.”
Sources have told ESPN that United have interviewed Ten Hag while talks have also been held with Pochettino, whose future at Paris Saint-Germain is up in the air after their Champions League exit to Real Madrid.
Appointing Enrique, meanwhile, is complicated by his commitments with Spain at the World Cup in Qatar.
“I know they have spoken to some people but so far we haven’t spoken about the experience and the impressions they have got from those meetings,” Rangnick added.
“It’s not an issue for me; for me it’s important to focus on the next games.”