Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick says the club need to develop the kind of “clear identity” established by rivals Manchester City and Liverpool as he prepares to take charge of his first derby.
Rangnick, whose side travel to Premier League leaders City on Sunday, was brought in following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking in November.
The 63-year-old German is due to start a two-year consultancy role after the season finishes but has not ruled himself out of the running for the role of permanent manager.
“What is obvious, not only with Manchester City but also with Liverpool, they’ve had continuity and consistency in the position of their manager, their head coach, for the past five or six years,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“They have a very clear identity, a clear idea of how they want to play.
“I know Jurgen (Klopp) in person and I also know Pep (Guardiola) from those three years in Germany when he was head coach of Bayern Munich.”
Rangnick said the secret of their success was that they knew exactly how they wanted to play.
“They have a clear identity, or you can also call it a corporate identity, and this is their guideline for everything they do,” he said.
“Not only probably for new players but also for staff members, for experts in different areas of the game that have become a bit more important in the last 10 to 15 years.
“This is what all the top clubs in Europe have in common. This is something that I think also at Manchester United needs to be developed and improved in the next couple of years.”
United have a surprisingly good record at City’s Etihad Stadium in recent years and Rangnick has received a boost heading into the derby by the return of Edinson Cavani.
The 35-year-old has not featured since the 1-1 draw at Burnley on February 8 after struggling with a groin issue.
United have struggled to convert chances in recent weeks — Rangnick’s men had 22 shots without finding the net in last Saturday’s 0-0 draw against relegation-threatened Watford.
Cristiano Ronaldo has managed just one goal in 10 games and will be desperate to get back on the scoresheet on Sunday.
“We know that we are playing against one of the best, if not the best team in Europe and the world,” Rangnick said.
He added: “It will be about tactical discipline, a lot of defensive work will be necessary, a lot of sprinting, running, against the ball, with the ball, waiting for transition and then taking our chances.
“We created enough in last 10, 11 games. At times we converted them, like at Leeds, where we scored four goals.
“But it’s correct we should have scored more goals.”