Rangnick to bring in ‘brain expert’ at Man Utd


Ralf Rangnick has said he has brought a sports psychologist to Manchester United to help train the brains of his players.

Sascha Lense, who has previously worked at RB Leipzig, is set to join the backroom team at Old Trafford with Rangnick insisting it is important there is an “expert for the brain” on his staff.

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“I don’t know what the situation is like here and in other clubs but in Germany most clubs have employed sports psychologists or a mental coach whatever you would like to call them,” Rangnick told a news conference on Tuesday.

“For me it is a question of logic. If you have special coaches for goalkeeping, physical education, even for strikers, fitness, whatever, you should also have an expert for the brain.

“It’s not so much putting them on the red sofa and holding hands for the players because most of them won’t do that anyway.

“For me it is about helping the players that the brain should assist the body not to work against it. The players and everybody in our team should think in the right way.

“I’m very happy to have Sascha on board. He is not working too much on the theory, he is hands on. Having worked together at Leipzig I know we will benefit a lot.”

Rangnick has not decided how many changes to make for the game against Young Boys on Wednesday but confirmed that both Dean Henderson and Donny van de Beek will start with United already confirmed to finish top of their Champions League group.

Edinson Cavani and Raphael Varane were both able to train on Tuesday but will not feature while they continue to build up their fitness after injury.

Whoever plays, Rangnick wants to see a continuation of the work started during the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace with a focus on high-pressing and strict organisation, both with and without the ball.

“It’s about gaining confidence and believing in the way we are playing,” Rangnick added, who also revealed former New York Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas will join his staff once he has received a work visa.

“The players have to buy in. I can tell them whatever I want but I need to convince them. I need to get into their heart, into their brains, into their blood.”

Nemanja Matic could also return to the team against Young Boys after the Serbian was an unused substitute against Palace.

The 33-year-old midfielder is playing under his third manager since arriving at the club in 2017 and said it will take time to “understand” Rangnick.

“Every manager has his ideas and we always try to adapt and to understand as soon as possible the ideas,” he told a news conference on Tuesday.

“I think that everyone saw a bit of his ideas in the last game against Crystal Palace, that high pressing and the organisation when we defend and when we attack.

“After a couple of days it’s very difficult but I’m sure step by step everyone will see his ideas on the pitch because we still have to understand everything that he wants from us.”

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