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Premier League: Esteemed duo Rangnick and Potter set for battle

Manchester United face Brighton in the Premier League on Tuesday evening with Ralf Rangnick preparing to face Graham Potter in a battle between two tactical minds.

United have stuttered recently after a promising start to the short Rangnick era, and have won only two of their past six matches.

An inability to kill teams off has proven costly so far and there are rumblings in the press of discontent with his methods, despite arriving at the club as one of the most revered and respected coaches in European football.

Those results mean the Red Devils currently sit fifth in the table, a point behind West Ham, though they have played one fewer game.

Brighton have had a wonderful campaign so far and occupy ninth place, well on course for a top-10 finish.

Despite a mid season lull that saw them fail to win in 11 matches, Potter's side have had a resurgence and are now unbeaten in seven matches.

United can be backed at 8/11 to win Tuesday's clash at Brighton, priced at 15/4, and a draw at 11/4.

Rangnick - Godfather of the Gegenpress

Rangnick has never been a major success in terms of winning trophies in coaching - indeed his most notable achievements are probably an Intertoto Cup success at Stuttgart in 2000 as well as winning the DFB Pokal in 2011 with Schalke.

But he is undoubtedly one of the most influential coaches of his generation and is widely regarded by many to have invented the "Gegenpress" style of football so synonymous with continental Europe, particularly Germany.

It is of course, the very fast, very high-octane pressing style which has most notably been successfully deployed by Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp - one of Rangnick's disciples in many regards.

Others who are considered to have been influenced by Rangnick include Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, and Bayern Munich chief Julian Nagelsmann, who followed Rangnick into the RB Leipzig hot seat back in the summer of 2019.

Things might not be going to plan at United so far, but there is sound logic to having Rangnick in the dugout to the end of the season and then moving him into a position upstairs.

His tactical insight and football intelligence means he is a good choice to have in an advisory role.

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Potter - The ambitious nomad

Potter has done things the hard way - he might be reaping the rewards and praise now but he has certainly had to work his way up the ladder in a particularly unconventional manner.

Not many British managers go and work abroad but Potter took the plunge in 2011 with Swedish fourth-tier outfit Ostersunds, after finishing a fairly nondescript playing career in 2005.

In seven years, he took them from obscurity to European football and they faced Premier League giants Arsenal in the Europa League, taking plaudits for their boldness and style of football.

That prompted Swansea to make a move in the summer of 2018 and after a year of Championship football in which they just missed out on the play-offs despite a relatively low budget, his Premier League chance came calling.

Given he is English and has a proven track record of playing attractive football, it is no wonder his name is persistently mentioned as a possible successor to Gareth Southgate, while he is always in and around the betting markets when managerial vacancies become available.

A meeting of the minds

Despite the age gaps and differing career paths, there are some similarities when it comes to talking about Rangnick and Potter.

Both started out their coaching careers with lower league teams, both have been credited with tactical innovations, both are highly respected by their peers, and both potentially have even more to acheive.

Tuesday's match will be very interesting to watch, not just because of what happens on the pitch, but also because of what ideas and flashes of innovation come from the respective dugouts.

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