Who is Sascha Lense? Why did Ralf Rangnick hire a sports psychologist for Manchester United?

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    Ralf Rangnick, United’s interim manager, gave a news conference yesterday to explain why he was appointed, and it’s no surprise that it was one of his first moves at the club to appoint Sascha Lense. It’s strange that despite having a big team of coaches, fitness instructors, and physiotherapists, they haven’t had a single mental specialist since Bill Beswick in 2001. 

    What was the Reason? 

    Ragnick explained: “Actually, I don’t know what the situation is like in England, in other clubs, but in Germany in the last couple of years, most clubs have employed a sports psychologist.” 

    “For me, it is logical.” 

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    “I didn’t have somebody like this [until] Hans-Dieter Hermann, the current sports psychologist of the German national team, back in 1998.” 

    “For me, it’s only a question of logic, if you have special coaches for goalkeeping, for physical and education, even for strikers, for fitness, you also should have an expert for the brain.” 

    It appears to be logical. But, after all this time, why hasn’t the issue been addressed? Is it because footballers have a negative reaction to all of the “touchy-feely” stuff? 

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    Is it possible to see Harry Maguire and Co. strolling into Wendy Rhoades’ office in Billions, sitting on the sofa, and crying on his shoulder about how they haven’t been playing well? Rangnick tells us that this would not be the case. 

    He explains: “Not so much to put the players on the red sofa and hold hands with them because most of them won’t do that anyway, but for me, it’s about helping the players [know] that the brain should assist the body and not work against it.” 

    “So, this is what it’s about for the players and even the coaching staff, everybody in our team should think in the right way, we all know what it’s about.” 

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    About Sascha Lense 

    Sascha Lense is a 48-year-old German who has appeared in over 100 Bundesliga matches for clubs including FSV Frankfurt, Dynamo Dresden, and SV Darmstadt 98. 

    He graduated from the University of Dresden with a degree in sport psychology and has worked in that capacity at football teams since 2014, twice at Dynamo Dresden, once at Schalke, and once at RB Leipzig, where he met Rangnick. 

    Rangnick said: “I’m very happy to have Sascha on board, as I said, he’s a former Second Division player, he’s hands on, he’s not too much working with the theory, he’s hands-on.” 

    “He’s part of every training session. Having worked together with him in Leipzig, I know we could benefit a lot from him.” 

    “It’s also as I said with the coaching and the coaches, of course, the coaches have to allow that. And for me, it’s vital that on the top level, you should have the best possible person on this job.” The appointment of Lense at United is contingent on the approval of his work visa. 

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