Manchester United’s new interim manager Ralf Rangnick has indicated that coach Kieran McKenna’s job is safe at Old Trafford.
The Fermanagh man has been an integral part of United’s staff since being promoted to work with the senior squad by former boss Jose Mourinho. He was kept on by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but after the Norwegian’s departure, McKenna had been set to discuss his role with incoming chief Rangnick. Now Rangnick has revealed that those talks were positive.
Michael Carrick, who had taken caretaker charge since Solskjaer’s exit, announced that he was leaving after Thursday evening’s 3-2 Premier League win over Arsenal.
That leaves McKenna along with Mike Phelan as the remaining coaches at the club, alongside technical director Darren Fletcher, and, speaking in his first press conference at Old Trafford, Rangnick was asked about their futures as well as the sudden departure of former midfielder Carrick.
"Michael, I got to know (about his decision to leave) two days ago,” he said. “I met with Michael and Kieran, I had a long private conversation for more than an hour. He had obviouly made that decision weeks ago. I tried to convince him to stay but in the end, I had to accept that.
"I'm more than happy to work with the current coaching staff, I need their expertise regarding the current squad."
Rangnick did confirm that he will look to supplement his current coaching team with new additions.
“I will obviously try to find one, two or maybe three people that will join us in the next one or two weeks, but due to the Brexit regulations, it's not that easy,” he explained.
"Many of my former colleagues, no matter if it’s video analysts or assistant coaches, are on long-term contracts with big clubs so they are not available right now so we have to be smart and clever and find the right people.
"I hope we can get them in here in the next one or two weeks.”
The 63-year-old is taking charge until the end of the season, after which he will remain on board in a two-year consultancy role. But is there potential that he might assume permanent control of team affairs?
He said: "The people with whom I've spoken with, they have been very clear that it is a six-month role. We have never spoken about what will happen in the summer. If they will speak about me with that, we will see. If they ask me about my opinion, I might make the same recommendation that I did at RB Leipzig twice, that it might be better to work with me for one year."
Rangnick also name-checked Northern Ireland legend George Best as he spoke about the culture at his new club.
"Looking back to the times of Best and Charlton, I had a look into Google the other week about the most famous players,” he said. “You could line up top four teams in the last 50 0r 60 years. I also know about the disaster in Munich. The legacy of this club is unique. We have to follow this legacy and make sure the DNA will also be respected."
On current star man Cristiano Ronaldo, Rangnick rejected any notion that the attacker would have to make big adaptations to his game to fit the new manager’s style.
"Having seen Cristiano yesterday in the second-half at the age of 36, an amazing top professional,” he said. “At his age, I've never seen a player who is still that physically fit. He's still a player who can easily make the difference.
"So yes, it's about how we can develop the whole team not only Cristiano. We play in the most competitive league in the world so we need all the players on board.
"What I saw from Cristiano yesterday, he is more than willing to do that, to put his input into the team. His team-mates will have to do the same."
Rangnick has previously worked at the likes of Hoffenheim, Schalke and Stuttgart and says he’s excited to have arrived at Old Trafford.
"If Manchester United contacts you for such a role you cannot turn it down," he said of his appointment.
"This is one of the biggest clubs, if not the biggest club, in the world. I am excited to work with the players we have here.
"I have watched the latest games, Watford, Chelsea, Arsenal, and I also watched on TV the games against Liverpool and Manchester City.
"I am well acquainted. It's pretty obvious the team has an abundance of young, talented players and experienced players. The major target for me is to bring more balance into the team. Even yesterday we conceded two and needed three to win. We concede on average two a game and this is too much.
"I want to bring more balance and more control. Yesterday's game, for me as the future coach, they are not the games you need. I will try and bring these outstanding, talented players away from their own goal."