RALF RANGNICK’S MANCHESTER UNITED HONEYMOON IS OVER, AS STRUGGLES AT NEWCASTLE PROVED.. Ralph Rangnick now knows the true scope of the work he has taken on as interim manager at Manchester United.
When he didn’t shake his head on the touchline during Monday’s dismal 1-1 draw with Newcastle, Rangnick rubbed his forehead in annoyance.
The only positive thing for the man who replaced dismissed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer earlier this month was that his side did better in the second half than in the first, but it was almost impossible for Manchester United to be worse.
“I didn’t like the performance at all,” Rangnick said. “Today we did not control the game, except for a few moments. It’s all about energy, physical strength and who will win the second goals. In all these areas, we were not up to par. The good news is that we got a point, but the performance should be better.
“You have to be ready and able to win these direct fights, and that was not so often. When we were in possession of the ball, we had too many rallies, and even with a goal, it does not make the task any easier. “
With Edinson Cavani’s 70th minute leveling that prevented Allan Saint-Maximin from starting in the 7th minute, Rangnick was able to extend his unbeaten start as interim manager to four games, but Manchester United were unable impress in any of their games so far. former coach of Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.
They took a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace and Norwich City and cut a 1-1 draw against Young Boys in the Champions League and now against Newcastle in St. James’s Park.
The new face in the manager’s chair tends to generate an initial boost in productivity and results, as players who failed under their predecessor find an extra level of commitment and quality to impress their new boss. That said, the rebound under Rangnick was pretty flat at best, and now that the novelty factor has disappeared after a month of leadership, we’re going to find out how good he is as both coach and manager.
We already know about the Manchester United players. They showed their shortcomings in a streak of four defeats in seven games that cost Solskjaer his job. What Rangnick now has to do is find a way to get those same players to step up their game consistently enough to get Manchester United back into the top 4 and Champions League qualifications, but given their terrible, scattered match against Newcastle in first half, this is not an easy task.
Of course, there is some softening for Rangnick. It was Manchester United’s first game in 16 days after the COVID-19 outbreak at Old Trafford, which put off matches against Brentford and Brighton, so there was always an element of rust against Eddie Howe’s team.
But United have returned to full training during the week, so there can be no excuse for the way they played in the first half when they were overtaken by Newcastle’s team, which took a football lesson in their last match when they lost. 4-0 at home with Manchester City eight days earlier.
With just one win in an entire season, Newcastle have dominated United in all areas.
Cristiano Ronaldo was isolated up front when Newcastle zeroed out strikers Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandez. In the meantime, Jonjo Shelvey and Joelinton, who had gone from a flawed striker to Howe’s midfielder, controlled the center third against Fred and Scott McTominay. On the defensive side, Harry Maguire and Rafael Varane have played as rookies in center midfield for Manchester United, losing their players and the ball several times in a multi-error game.
United did not have energetic, coordinated pressure or control over the game. All the while, Rangnick watched in confusion and disbelief as his extremely costly team worked like a group of strangers.
Only after Cavani entered the fight, replacing Mason Greenwood at half-time, did United look like a team. The former Paris Saint-Germain striker has always shown the highest work ethic and tenacity when he plays, and this takes a toll on his teammates.
His tally after missing out on an earlier chance gave United a chance to win the game, but they failed to take advantage of that and ended up relying on goalkeeper David de Gea to score a point with a stunning save to keep Miguel out. Almirona in added time. …
“Our biggest problem was the mistakes we made,” Rangnick said. “Even when we scored the counter, we did not control the game and did not make the right decisions.
“In three days we have the next game [against Burnley]… We can do better, but we have to do it. We don’t have to look for excuses – we need to get better and get better. “
United have probably done enough to merit a draw with Newcastle, but if Rangnick fail to spur an increase in performance, it will be difficult for them to pull off against the best teams in the Premier League.
Rangnik needs to ensure that his back line is properly protected and somehow find a way to make his midfielders look like they can control the game and dictate the pace of the game. Fred and McTominay are just not good enough and there is no point in anyone at United pretending otherwise.
The manager also needs to understand why Rashford’s development stalled for 18 months and why Jadon Sancho was unable to replicate his Bundesliga form at Borussia Dortmund with United in the Premier League.
Rangnick is not a fool, so he will know that a job like the one at Manchester United is not available when everything is going well. But he has a great reputation, and Manchester United need him to live up to it, rebuilding underperforming players and replacing those who are inadequate.
However, the honeymoon period is definitely over. United have been failing for almost nine years now, and the problems are profound.