Ralf Rangnick exclusive: Manchester United boss still waiting for contact from Erik ten Hag to share his opinions on how to rebuild club

Man Utd interim manager Ralf Rangnick will stay at the club until 2024 as a consultant, but he is yet to have spoken to incoming boss Erik ten Hag; Watch Man Utd vs Brentford live on Monday Night Football from 7pm on Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League; Kick-off 8pm

Ralf Rangnick

Ralf Rangnick is still waiting for his phone to ring.

"I'm pretty sure he's got my phone number!" the Manchester United interim manager tells Sky Sports, standing within the inner confines of a silent Old Trafford late on Thursday evening.

"He's got another couple of games to play with Ajax, we have another three games to play here. Whenever he wants to speak with me and exchange our opinions, I'm more than happy to do that."

Erik ten Hag was appointed more than a week ago as the man to drive United into a new era, one where they're expected to be back challenging for the Premier League title and major trophies, and one which is still to even make the first tentative steps.

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It is scarcely believable that nearly 10 years and four permanent managers have passed since Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement - the last time United were English football's top dogs.

Right now, they are further away than ever from experiencing the same past glories - set to finish this season with their lowest-ever Premier League points total. But Rangnick, despite admitting the club needs "open heart surgery", is upbeat the process to get back to the summit might not take long, providing the right changes are made.

"Knowing Erik will be the manager, with a good recruitment process and bringing in the right players, I'm very positive the supporters and the media will be able to see a better team and, at the end, hopefully a better position in the league," he said.

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"There are quite a few good examples in the league with when Jurgen Klopp came to Liverpool, Pep Guardiola to Manchester City, Thomas Tuchel came to Chelsea - yes, he came in the middle of the season and inherited a top-quality squad, but you still need to win the Champions League.

"If you know what you're looking for, the profiles of the different positions you need, it shouldn't hopefully take too long."

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That is where Rangnick will lend his expertise during his two-year consultancy role while managing the Austria national team.

The 63-year-old was not prepared to discuss his new job or how both would be combined going forwards - and would neither offer an opinion on whether Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored eight of the team's last 9 league goals, could fit into Ten Hag's demanding style of play.

"This is a question you need to ask Erik ten Hag," he said, after Ronaldo rescued United again on Thursday night by scoring the equaliser in their 1-1 with Chelsea. "He's showed that he can still be a vital part of this team, but it's obvious the team needs some more strikers. There should be two or three new strikers next season, it's pretty obvious."

Rangnick wants United to find and develop "future top, star players" who can be moulded into the club's ways rather than buying a player who is already the finished product, as they have been keen to do in recent years.

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Gary Neville has praised Cristiano Ronaldo, describing him as 'a sensation' after he scored another important goal in Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

The interim boss believes combining that approach with consistent recruitment at each opportunity can, again, move United closer to the country's top teams.

"If you think of Manchester City and Liverpool, they brought in [players] every transfer window," he said. "They strengthened the team, they brought in players not that popular at the time when they signed and developed into the two best teams in the world.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they play in the Champions League final in a few weeks. This shows it is possible that this can happen and it would not necessarily need three, four years in order to do that."

Ironically, United face Brentford on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports, a club renowned for their work in the transfer market. The Bees have reached the top-flight with their Moneyball-style use of data to drive their player recruitment - making only four signings last summer to help comfortably keep them in the Premier League for a second season.

Rangnick rightly points out the difference in size between United and Brentford, which has to be taken into consideration when the two are signing players and their approach to it, but agrees every club needs to follow an 'idea'.

"No matter which club, it is always necessary and important that you need an idea," he said. "You need to know how you want to play, what kind of profiles do we need because if you do not do that, you're always looking for the needle in the haystack.

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Brentford manager Thomas Frank believes that despite their recent struggles, Manchester United are still 'one of, if not the biggest club in world football' ahead of their clash on Monday Night Football.

"This is what I meant when I said 'open heart surgery'. I don't think it's enough to do some minor corrections and amendments. I think it's important to see the big picture and then hopefully bring in the best possible players.

"They should also fit together, this is also an issue, it is not only about bringing some players for defence, midfield and up front, it's also important you get to know the personality of the players and that they really fit and are able to meet the standards of this big club."

In the meantime, as United prepare to play their final home game of the season, Rangnick will keep on waiting to share his ideas with the man responsible for rebuilding United.

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