Nemanja Matic says Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United philosophy is not solely about pressing and believes the German coach has as tough a job as any of his predecessors at Old Trafford.
Rangnick has been appointed as interim manager until the end of the season. Tasked with steadying the ship and pushing United into top-four contention, Matic believes the 63-year-old faces a tough job. Rangnick will move into a two-year advisory role at the end of the season, with United looking for a long-term replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Solskjaer’s time turned sour after a run of embarrassing results left United’s hierarchy with now real option but to fire the club legend.
Humiliating home defeats at the hands of Liverpool and Manchester City hit United hard. And the 4-1 defeat at Watford was the final straw for the United board.
Matic though believes the Premier League has improved so much that even the “smaller” teams now “buy top-class players”.
Matic said, as cited in the Daily Mirror: “I think this is the toughest league so far. When I came over in 2009, it was only Chelsea and Man United who were competing. Now there are a lot of teams who have a chance to win. The smaller ones have improved a lot and buy top-class players.
“The Premier League is just very hard…much more than 15 years ago, and of course, every manager who comes to a new club needs a period to adapt.”
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Rangnick has a reputation for seeing his teams adopt a high-pressing game, but Matic, 33, says there is more to it.
“Of course, it will take some time, but we have enough talent in the squad to understand quickly and play how he wants us to.
“And that means a bit of everything, it isn’t just about pressing. You have to know what to do at this moment or that, and when and where to press.
Matic insists United are ‘focused’
“You must be physically ready, play well tactically when your chance comes, and we are already adapting to him.
“We understand his ideas and how he wants to play, what he wants from us in every position. Gradually we will be where he wants us to be.
“We are all positive and we’re already adapting to him. It’s only the beginning but we are all positive about things, so we will see in the future,” said Matic.
“Of course, we’ve had some problems, and must have 100 per cent concentration from the first minute to the last. But when we are focused it’s difficult to play against us.
“You have to be clinical when you have a chance to score and if you defend well, that’s what brings you trophies – and it’s time for us to show our qualities and finally win some,” he added.