Man Utd exit serves Ralf Rangnick well as boss produces dream Austria debut

Rangnick questions team spirit after Man Utd lose

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Ralf Rangnick put his Manchester United misery behind him by overseeing an astonishing win on his debut as Austria manager. The former United interim’s new side claimed a stunning 3-0 success over Croatia as their Nations League campaign started in spectacular style.

Austrian captain Marko Arnautovic, formerly of Stoke City and West Ham, opened the scoring on his 99th appearance for his country with a sublime curling effort shortly before the interval to give his side a surprise lead. Two goals in the space of three second half minutes from substitute Michael Gregoritsch and Bayern Munich’s Marcel Sabitzer then sent Rangnick into dreamland as Austria cruised to victory and took an early lead atop their Nations League group.

Following the performance, Rangnick, who recently cut ties with United after enduring a torrid tenure at Old Trafford, declared he was “very satisfied” with the success in his first match in charge. The new Austria coach said: “We had problems in the first 25 minutes, but getting the lead just before the break did us good.

“In the second half we played really well and scored two wonderful goals. We could even have scored more. I am very satisfied.”

After being appointed as United boss on a temporary deal until the end of the season back in late November, the German was expected to step up into a consultancy role at the club come the end of the campaign. Rangnick then accepted Austria’s invitation to coach the nation back in late April, with the view to juggle international management with his responsibilities at Old Trafford.

However, having experienced a nightmare stint with the Red Devils, in which the 63-year-old only lead United to 11 wins during his 29 matches in charge, Rangnick parted ways with the club last Sunday shortly after Erik ten Hag’s arrival. A resounding victory over Croatia will no doubt have sent a message to both United and Rangnick’s doubters.

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Following the triumph, Arnautovic praised his team-mates for the energy they showed while declaring his aspirations of seeing Austria challenge those at the top of international football under Rangnick. The Bologna forward said: “The players were full of energy.

“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.”

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