Mikael Silvestre Exclusive: Rangnick Inherited A Fragmented Dressing Room
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Mikael Silvestre Exclusive: Rangnick Inherited A Fragmented Dressing Room

Ex-Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre does not think interim manager Ralf Rangnick expected to inherit “a broken dressing room” when he took over at Old Trafford. Rangnick stepped in to fill the void after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November last year, but has not been able to turn the team’s fortunes around. The Red Devils sit six points adrift of the top four in sixth, having played one game more than Arsenal – who beat them 3-1 in their recent encounter at the Emirates Stadium. And the German has spoken about the club needing “open heart surgery”, while Scott McTominay and Jesse Lingard delivered scathing assessments of the state of the club and dressing room after losing to the Gunners. Silvestre believes that Ranginck did not realise the extent of the rebuilding job needed at United, but does not think the German could have been expected to do any better in the circumstances.


United Worse Under Rangnick

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “It’s easy to say [that United are worse under Rangnick than Solskjaer] now. 

“When the change was made I think it was because the club didn’t believe that Ole could turn things around. 

“When you bring in a manager in the middle of the season he has no time, no pre-season and none of the players that are there are his players. He has a limited amount of time coming in as the interim manager. 

“I think the task was gigantic and I don’t think that Ralf imagined the size of the task. I don’t think he would have thought that he was going to inherit a broken dressing room. 

“After a few months in charge he is talking about open heart surgery. United is United but right now it is just the name, the fanbase and the history. 

“What we’re seeing on the pitch, the results, in the dressing room is nowhere near what it used to be and you have to go back to the foundations. 

“For Ralf, the assessment is now complete. We are in April, but I think it would have been difficult for him to do any better because it takes time for a manager to get to know players and vice versa. 

“I’m sorry, but if you know that your boss is not going to be there next season, human nature says that you won’t give 100%. 

“You give 99%, 98% and when you multiply this by the eleven that start and the twenty-five in the squad you lose games and you lose focus.

“It’s difficult because when I was at United, every year we challenged for the title and at Arsenal we were always competitive. 

“I’ve been in difficult situations as a player. When I played at Rennes, we fought for survival. At Werder Bremen, we had to also fight for survival. 

“In my career, I’ve never had any of my teammates assess a dressing room [the way McTominay and Lingard did after the defeat against Arsenal], so it must be really bad if a player – and it isn’t one player – comes out and says such things. 

“There aren’t many positive vibes at United and I’m not sure if this is due to the results or if there's a bad atmosphere affecting results. 

“It should be a concern for the entire club because if you don’t have a harmonious dressing room, you won’t achieve anything, that is the foundation and it needs to be addressed for next season, that’s for sure.”

Confidential Handover

Silvestre believes that United would be better served by Rangnick having a confidential handover meeting with incoming manager Erik ten Hag in which the German delivers an honest assessment of the state of the club, rather than staying on in a consultancy role as he is set to do.

“Given the model of the club, with the people in charge and with the new manager coming in and the power he will be given, to be honest I don’t see how it can work with Ralf staying at the club beyond the end of the season,” he continued. 

“The best thing to happen would be an extremely confidential meeting between Erik and Ralf, which isn’t made public, where he delivers his honest assessment of the club. 

“That would be beneficial for him and he could use Ralf’s assessment and his experience as interim manager to have a better understanding of what has been happening at United. 

“I think that will be Ralf’s best contribution. With what has been reported about Erik’s involvement in recruiting players, we would expect him to be the final decision maker when signing players. 

“I think that is what should happen. United already have [Chief Executive] Richard Arnold, [Football Director] John Murtough and [Technical Director] Darren Fletcher. 

“They have people in place, you don’t need to add another layer which will add confusion. 

“As I said, I think they should have an honest, confidential conversation, but only between Ralf and Erik.”






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V: 1.35.0 All rights reserved. August 2021