The changes to Chris Armas’ role at United are not yet announced, but Ralf Rangnick has confirmed a move for sports psychologist. The German coach is said to be keen on bringing in the new tool into his side after their recent slump that saw them drop points against Burnley and Chelsea last weekend.
9.47 a.m. ET
Dawson, Rob Correspondent
Ralf Rangnick has revealed that he has recruited a sports psychologist to Manchester United in order to assist his players improve their minds.
Rangnick believes it is critical to have a “specialist for the brain” on his staff, therefore Sascha Lense, who formerly worked at RB Leipzig, is poised to join the backroom team at Old Trafford.
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“I don’t know what the situation is like here and with other teams,” Rangnick said at a press conference on Tuesday. “In Germany, most clubs have engaged sports psychologists or mental coaches or whatever you want to call them.”
“It’s an issue of logic for me.” If you have goalkeepers, physical education coaches, strikers, fitness coaches, or whatever, you should also have a brain specialist.
“It’s not so much about placing them on the red couch and making them hold hands for the players since most of them won’t do it anyhow.”
“For me, it’s about assisting the athletes in understanding that the brain should work with the body rather than against it. Our athletes, as well as everyone else on our squad, should think critically.
“I’m delighted to welcome Sascha to the team. He isn’t too concerned with theory and prefers to work with his hands. Having worked together in Leipzig, I am certain that we will reap significant benefits.”
Ralf Rangnick has revealed that he has added additional personnel to his backroom team. Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Alex Livesey
Rangnick hasn’t determined how many changes he’ll make for United’s Champions League match against Young Boys on Wednesday, but he has confirmed that Dean Henderson and Donny van de Beek will start, with United already certain to finish first in their group.
Both Edinson Cavani and Raphael Varane were able to exercise on Tuesday, but will not play since they are still recovering from injuries.
Rangnick wants to see a continuation of the work begun in the 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace, with a concentration on high-pressing and precise organization both with and without the ball, regardless of who plays.
“It’s about establishing confidence and believing in the way we’re playing,” Rangnick said, adding that Chris Armas, the former head coach of the New York Red Bulls, would join his staff once he receives a work visa.
“The players must purchase a ticket. I may say anything I want, but I have to persuade them. I need to go into their hearts, minds, and bloodstreams.”
After being an unused replacement against Palace, Nemanja Matic might return to the lineup against Young Boys.
Since joining the club in 2017, the 33-year-old midfielder has had three managers and says it would take time to “understand” Rangnick.
“Every manager has his ideas,” he said during a press conference on Tuesday. “We always strive to adapt and comprehend the ideas as fast as possible.”
“I believe everyone saw a little of his ideas in the previous game against Crystal Palace, especially the intense pressing and organization when we defend and attack.”
“It’s incredibly tough after a few of days, but I’m confident everyone will see his ideas on the field step by step since we still have to comprehend what he wants from us.”