INCOMING: United appoint sport psychologist Sascha Lense
Interim manager Ralf Rangnick has confirmed Sascha Lense will join Manchester United in the “vital” role of sport psychologist to ensure the group “think in the right way”.
Having been handed the reins until the end of the season following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s exit, the 63-year-old kicked off his time in the hot-seat with a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
United worked over the weekend to add new faces to the existing backroom team and Rangnick admitted at his unveiling that they would have to be “a bit smart and clever” when looking for additions.
The German has now confirmed Chris Armas, the former New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC manager, will be joining United as assistant coach, with Lense coming in as sport psychologist.
“In Germany in the last couple of years, most clubs have employed a sports psychologist or mental coach, whatever you would like to call them,” Rangnick said. “For me, it is absolutely logical.
“I even had somebody like this, Hans-Dieter Hermann, the current sport psychologist of the German national team, back in 1998 in Ulm. We were probably the first club in Germany who had ever employed a sport psychologist.
“For me, it’s only a question of logic. I mean, if you have special coaches for goalkeeping, physical education, even for strikers, fitness, whatever, you also should have an expert for the brain.
“Not so much to put them on the red sofa and holding hands for the players because most of them won’t do that anyway.
“For me, it’s about helping the players that the brain should assist the body and not work against it. This is what it’s about.
“That the players and even the coaching staff, everybody in our team, should think in the right way.
“We all know what it’s about. Whenever we speak about football we know that the major part is up here. What do you think? How do you analyse situations?
“Therefore I’m very happy to have Sascha on board. He’s a former Second Division player, he’s hands on. He’s not sort of working too much in the theory, he’s hands on. He’s part of every training session.
“Having worked together with him in Leipzig, I know that we could benefit a lot from him.
“It’s also about coaching the coaches. Of course the coaches have to allow that and, for me, it’s vital that on top level that you should have the best possible person on this job.”
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