Man Utd boss Ralf Rangnick on why a sports psychologist is key to solving the Old Trafford ‘puzzle’ | Football News

Ralf Rangnick’s revolution at Manchester United is barely a month old, but his fingerprints are already visible everywhere you look at the club.

Two Premier League games and a week of training may have been victims of a coronavirus outbreak, but not a second was wasted at Rangnick’s hands. Areas for improvement have been identified; quick and decisive decisions followed.

One of Rangnick’s first acts was to bring a sports psychologist to Old Trafford, with Sascha Lense, a close confidant during his tenure at RB Leipzig, joining United’s behind-the-scenes staff.

Lense’s appointment raised a number of pertinent questions, from the benefits of hiring a sports psychologist and the overall goal, to the willingness or unwillingness of players to get involved.

More importantly, the burning question is why a sports psychologist – a position of unquantifiable importance for Rangnick and which he believes will be common to all sports in the foreseeable future – wasn’t in situ at Manchester United in the first place?

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“I wouldn’t say I was surprised,” Rangnick told Sky Sports exclusively. “I know that from Germany there are some clubs that do not work with a sports psychologist. But for me it is absolutely logical.

“Each club has different experts for the goalkeeper, for the physical performance, for the different areas of the pitch: defense, midfield, attack. The team of experts in some teams is probably greater than the number of players in a team.

Man Utd results under Rangnick

Opponent competition Result
Crystal Palace please 1-0
young boys CL 1-1
Norwich please 1-0
Brentford please PP
Brighton please PP

“If you then consider the brain, the head, the way the players, the staff members or the coaches think it is the most relevant, then it makes sense for me to have the best possible expert in that area on your staff.

“This is about helping players think the right things and not think the wrong things. To develop players, the brain should help the body function at the highest possible level.

“This is part of the puzzle, part of the puzzle. It is important that any top club, and Manchester United are one of the greatest clubs in the world, have the best people possible and they should at least have all those little pieces available.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is full of praise for Ralf Rangnick, who he says will organize Manchester United if he is named their interim manager.

“It shouldn’t be the case that in certain areas we don’t have anyone. I firmly believe that every club in the future should have someone in this department.”

It would be hypocritical to pin Manchester United’s fears under Rangnick’s predecessor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, or in the entire post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, about the absence of a sports psychologist at Old Trafford, but why it would be overlooked, especially on this day. and age, suggests a lack of foresight on the part of previous regimes.

While this fixture won’t turn United into title contenders overnight, what it does is provide Rangnick players with the tools to uphold the high expectations that come with playing at one of the biggest clubs in the world, and it focuses , first and foremost, on the personal rather than the professional.

“Players of this level are under pressure to deliver and perform at the highest level possible,” added Rangnick. “Sometimes they may need help and they may need someone to talk to.

“It shouldn’t always be just the manager or the coach. It is important for players to know that there is a neutral person, an expert, to whom they can turn in situations where they may need a hand, or even just someone who listens to them.

“In Germany we had the case of Robert Enke, who committed suicide when he was still the goalkeeper of the German national team. If you look at this aspect of the game, it is important to have someone on your staff.”

As for Lense himself, the 43-year-old has settled down as much as possible in United’s Carrington training complex, which has just reopened after being closed for eight days due to a Covid outbreak.

“Sascha follows every training session, is part of every match, is part of the staff and speaks regularly with the players,” explains Rangnick.

“Of course, it’s not compulsory, we don’t force players to talk to Sascha, but they know he’s there. He’s a smart and respectable guy, and he’s at the top of his job, I know because we’ve worked together at Leipzig for three years. Players will find out very soon if they haven’t already. “

Rangnick’s sentiment about Lense could easily be applied to his Manchester United tenure.

The first steps have been taken and a long way to discover lies ahead, but his first moves into the Manchester United hotseat speak of a manager with a solid grasp of the bigger picture, if we hadn’t already figured it out.

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Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick wants the five substitutes rule restored in the Premier League.

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