Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick was all praise for four players after his first game in charge – a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
United started in a hurry, with Rangnick’s high-pressing system in full flight in the first 20 minutes of the game. The first half saw United carve out a plethora of chances. However, a lack of a final pass and poor finishing meant United went into half-time with the game still scoreless.
With Rangnick employing the same lineup that started the 3-2 win against Arsenal, a few players began to tire around the hour mark. Nevertheless, the manager was full of praise for four players, in particular.
He lauded Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho for their defensive work. Rangnick was also impressed with the offesnive output of the two full-backs, Alex Telles and Diogo Dalot.
He said in this regard:
“They (Bruno & Sancho) almost played like wing-backs. Especially in the first-half, Alex (Telles) and Diogo (Dalot), did extremely well offensively, and that’s why I played 4-2-2-2. I’m a big fan of every player plays in his best possible position.”
Ralf Rangnick oversees a rare clean sheet in his first game in charge at Manchester United
Manchester United know there is a lot of work required in the next few weeks and months. The team looked like a different outfit than they have all season, coming out with all guns blazing in the first half. One of the commentators even claimed that United were guilty of overusing the high press.
The result was that several players looked tired in the first 15 minutes of the second half. That, though, did not include Fred, the 36-year old Cristiano Ronaldo, or the two full-backs. The Old Trafford knows that the attacking unit will improve as they get used to playing in a new system.
However, the team showed enough signs of already starting down the right path. The fact that Fred scored a superb goal comes second only to the fact that the team registered a rare clean sheet.
Even in games where they have not conceded this season, United’s defence has looked shaky for large swathes. It was either because of the other team’s mistakes or sheer luck that United did not concede. That was something that was on full display in the 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
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However, against Crystal Palace, Manchester United deserved a clean sheet. They dominated the ball for large parts of the game, rarely allowing Crystal Palace sustained spells on the ball until late in the second half. Even during the final ten minutes, Manchester United defended well, and had more than enough answers for everything that was thrown at them.