Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick on Sunday hinted that the Red Devils were some distance away from the top clubs in the Premier League, adding that the imminent arrival of Erik ten Hag would help the club get back on track.

During his pre-match press conference on Sunday ahead of United’s clash with Brentford late on Monday, the United boss was asked whether the Red Devils were “still attractive to the top, top players nowadays.”

“As a club, with regard to the supporters, stadium and quality of our training ground, yes it definitely is, but you also have to be realistic,” was Rangnick’s frank reply.

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“As soon as other clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City are involved, you need some good reasons and somebody needs to explain to the players,” the German explained, adding, “that is why it is also very important what Erik thinks.”

United’s interim manager went on to explain the role that managers play in recruitment from his experience, saying, “I know that from my time with Leipzig and Salzburg and I also know it from Jurgen [Klopp] and from Thomas [Tuchel], if they want players, they’re also involved. They speak to the players and the same is probably true with Pep [Guardiola], they invite the players themselves.”

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“It’s also about speaking to those players and finding out about their mentality, about their character and if they are really players that are the best possible fit for this club,” the 630-year-old added, talking about the role ten Hag is expected to play when he joins United in the summer.

“I am positive, with Erik ten Hag, Manchester United will have one of the best coaches that are available, probably also one of the best coaches that we have in Europe and then it is about, with him, recruitment,” Rangnick assured.

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“Together with the way the team is being trained and coached, [those] are the two most vital things, and if those two things come together, I am very positive that the fans here at Old Trafford, and yourself, will see a better kind of team, with a better kind of football,” he promised the United fans.

Indeed, Erik ten Hag’s imminent arrival is perhaps the only silver lining for United, who have had an abysmal season.

With no silverware within their grasp, the team of star players is struggling to retain a spot in European football: United’s mid-week 1-1 draw with Chelsea ensured that they would not be eligible for Champions League football next season, and if the Red Devils drop points in their remaining three games, there is a possibility of them missing out on European football altogether.