Ralf Rangnick has started his reign at Manchester United by visiting Old Trafford. The 63-year-old was confirmed earlier this week as United’s interim manager until the end of the season “subject to work visa requirements”.
Rangnick and Michael Carrick will hold a press conference later on Wednesday before the Premier League fixture against Arsenal on Thursday, where Carrick will be in the dugout again.
Rangnick faces a Football Association-appointed independent panel in order to gain his Home Office work permit as his recent career out of coaching means he does not meet the criteria automatically. United are yet to specify when he will take training and start managing the team on matchdays.
The German coach has started preparing for his six months in charge by looking around United’s stadium and in the dressing room, where he will deliver his team talks, and working areas for their home games this season as he looks to climb the Premier League table and finish in the Champions League places.
Even without a work permit, it has been widely reported that Rangnick will be allowed to watch the game against Arsenal at Old Trafford from the stands, even if he has no input into the team. Carrick said there was no input during or before the draw at Chelsea on Sunday.
It remains to be confirmed whether Rangnick will be allowed to be in the dugout on Sunday when United host Crystal Palace. Carrick has overseen the Champions League victory over Villarreal and then took the team for the Stamford Bridge game where they earned a result against Thomas Tuchel’s title-contending team.
“The work permit process is ongoing and I’m in this position as I was for Villarreal and Chelsea, getting the boys ready for the game,” Carrick said. “Because of the process and work permit we haven’t been able to [speak]. We’ve carried on, it’s worked well the last two games.”
United announced the appointment of Rangnick on Monday and the German will continue for two years after this season as a consultant. “The squad is full of talent and has a great balance of youth and experience. All my efforts for the next six months will be on helping these players fulfil their potential, both individually and, most importantly, as a team,” he said.
Champions League opponents given quarantine exemption
By Ben Rumsby
Manchester United have been cleared to stage their final Champions League group game at Old Trafford after Young Boys were granted an exemption from coronavirus quarantine upon returning to Switzerland.
As revealed by Telegraph Sport, there had been fears the Omicron variant of Covid-19 would force United to play next week’s match in a neutral country after the Swiss government imposed new rules on travellers from Britain and other countries to have confirmed cases.
But Young Boys tweeted on Wednesday: “YB has received a special permit from the Canton of Bern for the away games in the Uefa Champions League and the Uefa Youth League.
“This means that players and staff do not have to be in 10-day quarantine after their return journey.”
Uefa had on Monday been seeking urgent clarity from the Swiss government over whether Rangnick’s potential first European match as interim United manager would need to be moved overseas.
Under Champions League rules, had Young Boys not been exempt from strict quarantine conditions upon returning from the UK, next Wednesday’s game would have needed to be switched – if possible – to a neutral country.
That could have cost United millions of pounds in ticket revenue and left supporters of both sides out of pocket if they had already committed to non-refundable travel expenses.
It would have also seen United surrender home advantage facing a side against whom they suffered a shock defeat in their Group F opener in September – although they subsequently recovered to guarantee top spot, making next Wednesday’s return fixture something of a dead rubber for them.
Unless England manager Gareth Southgate is granted a similar exemption to Young Boys, he could be forced to miss the Nations League draw in Montreux on December 16.
Uefa is unlikely to move an event which could be conducted virtually either in part or, if necessary, in its entirety.