They took on Croatia away from home in a Nations League match that saw Rangnick’s new team register a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Marko Arnautovic, Michael Gregoritsch and Marcel Sabitzer. The 63-year-old was overjoyed come the end of the game.
“We had problems in the first 25 minutes, but getting the lead just before the break did us good,” Rangnick explained. “In the second half we played really well and scored two wonderful goals. We could even have scored more. I am very satisfied.”
If Arnautovic’s post-match comments are anything to go by, Rangnick’s influence is already taking shape as Austria displayed a newfound engine and calmness in front of goal. “The players were full of energy,” the former West Ham and Stoke striker explained. “Croatia are an excellent team, but we played a great match. We turned our chances to goals and deserved this win. We want to return to the top.”
The German was appointed as the interim boss of the Red Devils just before Christmas, with a view to then transitioning upstairs into the boardroom as a consultant. However, plans changed when Rangnick agreed to become the manager of Austria near the end of the Premier League season.
For weeks it appeared as if the German would juggle the two job roles given the limited work-load he would have becoming part of the United hierarchy, but soon after the end of an incredibly disappointing league season the club confirmed Rangnick would not stay at Old Trafford in any capacity.
A statement from the Red Devils last week read: “We would like to thank Ralf Rangnick for his efforts as interim manager over the past six months.
“By mutual agreement, Ralf will now focus solely on his new role as manager of the Austria national team and will not therefore be taking up a consultancy role at Old Trafford. We would like to wish Ralf the best of luck in this next chapter of his career.”
Rangnick was never particularly shy during his brief reign as United boss in publicly highlighting the club’s flaws, whether it be those above him and their reluctance to provide him with a new striker in January or openly admitting a lack of team spirit within the current crop of misfiring stars.