Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has admitted that former interim manager Ralf Rangnick struggled at the club because he was trying to implement a new style of playing in a squad low on confidence.
Rangnick was appointed temporary boss last December following the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and enjoyed relative success initially, pushing United back into the Premier League top four by the middle of February after losing only one of his first 11 league games.
But the wheels spectacularly fell off for the German, who is noted for his particular style of intense high pressing, in the last stretch of the season when United lost six of their final 11 games and took only 11 points from a possible 33 on offer to finish sixth.
United have since improved under new permanent manager Erik ten Hag, who has brought his own identity and discipline to the club. But Fernandes hinted it was simply the wrong time for Rangnick to do it, especially when he was working with players whose confidence was shot to pieces.
“Ralf came with his idea of playing with intensity and pressing and how he was used to playing in Germany. But it did not quite work out with us because there was an atmosphere between everyone where the confidence was low and everything was really down,” Fernandes told The Athletic.
“It is really difficult to come off when you are in that run.
He continued: “It is nothing to do with Ralf. He tried his best. He is a good manager with good ideas but it did not fit with everyone. This is because the team had been built with Ole and his idea, and then a new manager comes in with [his own idea].
“That probably could be the difference at the club because every manager who has been here has had different ideas, so they bring different players in.”
Rangnick, who was very open about United’s shortcomings at every level during his press conferences, had initially agreed to take on a two-year consultancy role after his stint as interim boss. But in the end the club sought a clean break when Ten Hag was chosen to take charge and Rangnick was left to take an offer to become Austria national team head coach instead.