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3 things we spotted in Ralf Rangnick’s 1st Man United game

Ralf Rangnick kicked off his six month managerial spell at Manchester United with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Here are three major observations we made as the Red Devils moved within three points of the top four spots. 

Attacking fullbacks

Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles did not get many opportunities to impress since their arrival at Old Trafford.

While Luke Shaw was unavailable for selection with a head injury, Rangnick chose to bench Aaron Wan Bissaka, who was the regular right back under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

Rangnick’s high press system requires the fullbacks to be heavily involved in the team’s attacking build-ups.

Dalot and Telles executed that role perfectly while maintaining defensive cover for the advanced wingers Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford. 

That said, it could be too early to say that United have solved their fullback issues.

Patrick Vieira instructed his Palace team to sit deep and absorb the pressure.

So, there was not much threat from the flanks.

How would United’s new fullback pairing perform when they come across oppositions with superior wing threat? We will have to wait and find out. 

Lack Of clear cut chances

Manchester United exhibited a high tempo performance, but they cannot say they have engineered many clear cut chances in the match. 

Palace were happy to sit back and despite United’s high press and dominant possesion, they could not do much to unlock the Palace defence. 

A superb strike from Fred, not the likeliest goalscorer in the United side, made the difference in the end.

But, on xG count, it does not register as a big goal scoring chance.        

This might be a temporary issue since Rangnick did not get much time to work with this team and United are not used to playing this brand of football.

We can expect for more attacking fluidity in the next matches. 

Hardworking Ronaldo 

Rangnick was in attendance as Cristiano Ronaldo put Arsenal to the sword with a brace on Thursday night.

After the match, the former Leipzig boss hailed the quality of the 36-year old and insisted his plans will center around the Portuguese. 

Many took that remark with a pinch of salt, deeming an ageing Ronaldo unfit for such a dynamic system. 

The five time Ballon d’Or winner proved his doubters wrong once again last night.

His off the ball movement was off the charts and he constantly pressed the Palace backline throughout the game.

There was a noticeable drop in intensity in the second half, but that is normal considering the entire United team seemed fatigued then.

Ronaldo proved himself to be a workhorse, but Rangnick’s challenge would be to use him without the risk of burning him out.    

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