Manchester United-Chelsea Preview
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel hailed Ralf Rangnick's revolutionary thinking with Manchester United reportedly on the brink of appointing the German.
Tuchel played for third-tier Ulm when Rangnick guided the club into 2. Bundesliga before a knee problem cut short the 48-year-old's playing days.
Rangnick, 63, also coached Stuttgart in 1999 and pushed the now Chelsea boss towards working for the club at youth level to learn his trade.
Tuchel's introduction to management proved successful, with the former Paris Saint-Germain head coach then taking charge of Mainz in 2009 before moving to Borussia Dortmund.
Michael Carrick is set to remain in charge for United's trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday but Tuchel praised Rangnick's influence as the German edges closer to a reported move.
"He helped me a lot because he was my coach and then one of the main figures to convince me to try coaching," Tuchel responded to reporters at Friday's pre-match news conference.
"He was a huge influence on all of us at this time because he showed us it's not important to follow people to the toilet in games.
"That was the belief in these days that the defenders follow their strikers wherever they go and he showed us that it is possible to defend everybody in a zone.
"But listen, before I get carried away and talk too much, he isn't appointed yet. So let's respect everybody, let's respect Ralf and the club's decision.
"When things are done then we can maybe talk about it."
Carrick, meanwhile, only has focus on Sunday's clash.
"Speculation and reports are just that," Carrick told a media conference. "My head is just on the game. My pure focus is on preparing the team as best as I can. Anything after Sunday is not in my thoughts at the moment."
Chelsea - Reece James
Romelu Lukaku could be back for Chelsea to face his former club, but it is wing-back Reece James who has picked up the scoring mantle in the forward's absence. The England international is in supreme form, having carried on his goal streak against Juventus in midweek.
Manchester United - Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho finally got off the mark for United in their Champions League win over Villarreal on Tuesday, dispatching a brilliant finish in off the bar to make it 2-0 to the Red Devils late on. After a slow start to life at Old Trafford, he will be hoping he has turned the corner.
- Chelsea are winless in their last seven Premier League games against United, only having a longer run without a league win against the Red Devils once before (10 games between 1938 and 1950).
- United are unbeaten in their last 11 Premier League away games in London (W7 D4), winning each of their last three in a row. They last won four consecutive league visits to the capital between May and November 2005.
- League leaders Chelsea have conceded just four goals in their 12 Premier League games this season. Only the Blues themselves (3 in 2004-05) have shipped fewer at this stage of an English top-flight campaign.
- Carrick will be the first Englishman to take charge of United in a league game since Ron Atkinson in November 1986 (1-1 vs Coventry). Four of the five managers to take charge of the Red Devils since Alex Ferguson left have won their first league game in charge, with Louis van Gaal the exception (1-2 vs Swansea in August 2014).
- Lukaku has only scored in one of his 11 Premier League appearances against United, netting a hat-trick as a substitute for West Brom in Sir Alex Ferguson's final game in charge of the Red Devils in May 2013.
Updated November 27, 2021