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united slide Ralf Rangnick on the ingredients need to get Manchester United back on track

United travel to neighbours City in the Manchester derby on Sunday.

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Ralf Rangnick is in charge of Manchester United until the end of the season (Mike Egerton/PA)

Ralf Rangnick is in charge of Manchester United until the end of the season (Mike Egerton/PA)

Ralf Rangnick is in charge of Manchester United until the end of the season (Mike Egerton/PA)

Interim manager Ralf Rangnick believes Manchester United need to develop the kind of “clear identity” established by the likes of rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.

All eyes will be on the Etihad Stadium this Sunday for the 187th all-Manchester encounter as the German leads his side to the reigning Premier League champions and current leaders.

Rangnick was brought in as interim manager for the rest of the season following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking in November, with the experienced German due to start a two-year consultancy role at the club in the summer.

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Ralf Rangnick is in charge of Manchester United until the end of the season (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ralf Rangnick is in charge of Manchester United until the end of the season (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ralf Rangnick is in charge of Manchester United until the end of the season (Martin Rickett/PA)

The 63-year-old has not ruled himself out of the running for the role as permanent manager – a position he says City and second-placed Liverpool have reaped enormous rewards from getting right.

“I don’t even know the structure or the set-up at Manchester City,” he said when asked about United’s situation compared to Sunday’s opponents. “I know most of the people here in our club.

“My focus was, and still is, on developing the current team and getting the best out of this season.

“What is obvious, not only with Manchester City but also with Liverpool, they’ve had continuity and consistency on the position of their manager, their head coach, for the past five or six years.

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Jurgen Klopp, left, and Pep Guardiola, right, were praised by Ralf Rangnick (Martin Rickett/PA)

Jurgen Klopp, left, and Pep Guardiola, right, were praised by Ralf Rangnick (Martin Rickett/PA)

Jurgen Klopp, left, and Pep Guardiola, right, were praised by Ralf Rangnick (Martin Rickett/PA)

“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. He also has a clear idea how he wants to play.

“This idea is the headline for everything that happens in the club – for recruitment, for any new players that they sign, or even for players that they at one stage will sell.

“This is, I think, the secret behind their success, that they exactly know how they want to play.

“They have a clear identity, or you can also call it a corporate identity, and this is their guideline for everything what they do.

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Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva celebrates scoring at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva celebrates scoring at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva celebrates scoring at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

“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 10-15 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 in recent years and Rangnick has been boosted 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, with a groin issue ruling him out of the five straight matches.

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Edinson Cavani has not featured since early February (Martin Rickett/PA)

Edinson Cavani has not featured since early February (Martin Rickett/PA)

Edinson Cavani has not featured since early February (Martin Rickett/PA)

“He’s back in training since yesterday,” Rangnick said. “Today was his second training session with the team.

“It looks good so I think he could at least be part of the group for Sunday.

“Apart from that, we have two or three question marks behind some players but we will have to wait and see what happens by tomorrow on Sunday.

“But Edinson I think as it stands now will be part of the group.”

The return of striker Cavani is a boost given United’s struggles converting in recent weeks, with Rangnick’s men having 22 shots without finding the net in last Saturday’s 0-0 draw against relegation-threatened Watford.

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Cristiano Ronaldo has had a frustrating run in front of goal (Nick Potts/PA)

Cristiano Ronaldo has had a frustrating run in front of goal (Nick Potts/PA)

Cristiano Ronaldo has had a frustrating run in front of goal (Nick Potts/PA)

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.

“They have developed well since (Guardiola) arrived here. The same happened at Bayern Munich and Barcelona when he was there.

“He is one of the best, one of the most influential caches in last 10, 15 years so we know what kind of team and style of football we are facing.

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Pep Guardiola talks to Phil Foden (Joe Giddens/PA)

Pep Guardiola talks to Phil Foden (Joe Giddens/PA)

Pep Guardiola talks to Phil Foden (Joe Giddens/PA)

“That’s why 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 time we converted them, like at Leeds, where we scored four goals.

“But it’s correct we should have scored more goals, especially in the last game against Watford. We should have scored at least one, two, three goals in order to win the game.

“But I would be more worried actually if we didn’t create chances.”

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