Thomas Tuchel admits he was and still is expecting more from Manchester United this season.
Perhaps it will come once his former mentor Ralf Rangnick, a man he considers a tactical equal to the best coaches the Premier League has to offer, takes charge at Old Trafford.
Thomas Tuchel sees Ralph Rangnick as a tactical equal to the Premier League’s best coaches
Tuchel, now leading Chelsea, feels his old friend Rangnick will turn United back into a force
‘Yeah, I was [expecting more] and maybe I still am,’ Tuchel said. ‘I will never write anybody off not in this league and not in this game. Because there’s a specific club, first of all, but it is a very experienced and individually top level group of players.’
And one on the verge of being led by Rangnick, a Godfather-like figure in German football and inspiration for many of the coaches who came after him like Tuchel.
Tuchel played under Rangnick at Ulm. Rangnick then helped Tuchel on his way in management, handing him his first coaching role in the youth setup at the same club.
Chelsea’s head coach is now considered one of the game’s best and part of a group of elite managers in the Premier League that also includes Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte.
Rangnick is a Godfather-like figure in German football and inspiration for many of the coaches who came after him, including the likes of Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp
Tuchel insists Rangnick will instantly join them in that top bracket of leading tactical coaches when he arrives.
‘Yes, tactically for sure he is an elite manager,’ he said.
‘He helped me a lot because he was my coach. And then he was one of the main figures to convince me to try coaching.
‘So a huge influence on all of us at this time, because he showed us that it’s not necessary to follow people to the toilet in football games, because there was the belief in these days that the defenders follow their strikers wherever they go. He showed us that it’s possible to defend everybody and so on.
Rangnick has already asked for United training footage as he prepares to step in next week
Jurgen Klopp (right) is among the large number of managers who eulogise about Rangnick
‘He was one of the very first to implement a back four in Germany and introduce the style of not man-marking and still being aggressive and was one of the pioneers to introduce a 442 and high pressing and still he is one of the leaders of this development in German football so tactically for sure he is an elite coach.’
United have mimicked Chelsea, not just by changing manager mid-season in pursuit of an upturn like the Blues experienced last season under Tuchel, but also by going for a German manager in a similar mould.
Tuchel said: ‘There is no recipe. I cannot give any advice because everybody needs to do it in their own way.
United didn’t know ‘what to do with the ball’ in their defeat at Watford, David de Gea claimed
‘For me personally, it was luck to arrive at this place. We are a perfect fit and I do my very best to stay.
‘I don’t think these decisions [to change manager] are easily made or anyone loves these kind of decisions.
‘Everyone tries to find their own solution – in the circumstances who’s available? Who wants to have the job? Who is capable of doing the job?
‘But that is their [United’s] thing to do and we will not help!’