Sunday, February 5

Why Man United struggled at Newcastle: Ralf Rangnick has a lot of work ahead of him

Manchester United’s 1-1 draw against Newcastle, who live in the background, after 16 days without a game, was as bad as anything served with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

If Ralf Rangnick had any doubts about the magnitude of the task that awaited him at Manchester United, he realized how difficult the next few months will be as he watched his team fight to win a point against relegation. threatened Newcastle on Monday.

There were countless examples that could have left Rangnick wondering if this group of players is ready to execute his style of soccer. Like Fred losing one of his 43 passes, the numerous times Newcastle danced across his team’s baseline or Bruno Fernandes lost possession 26 times.

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Building on the display at St James’ Park, the interim coach must get back to basics before even considering a new style and formation if he is to save his hopes of being in the top four of the Premier League this season.

Rangnick stood on the touchline, shaking his head and rubbing his forehead and, with half an hour left on the clock, he shrugged to suggest that he had no idea why they were acting the way they were. There was an air of disbelief.

The German had entered this match feeling confident after most of his team were back in top form after the closure imposed by COVID. Now, three league games into his tenure, he will be more aware than ever of the job at hand. You also don’t have much time to solve these problems; Burnley at home awaits Thursday night.

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So what is the problem? Is the new 4-2-2-2 formation too complex for players to know about? Are players not being used to their full potential?

Fernandes, for example, does not seem like a natural fit on the right side and the lack of quality in midfield leaves United very exposed in the center as all four forwards push forward.

While the switch to a 4-1-3-2 formation in the second half against Newcastle saw a slight improvement, fundamental problems persisted and reinforced the idea that the system is not necessarily the biggest problem.

“It wasn’t a training issue, it was a power and intensity issue,” Rangnick said afterward. “Also about speed, how we play in those one-on-one duels. This is something we have to improve on. “

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The problems that the former RB Leipzig manager has with this Manchester United team are twofold. First, there are too many technical and unforced errors and second, there is a lack of intensity and aggressiveness. Former defender Gary Neville believes the latter is a behavior and attitude problem.

“They’re a bunch of assholes, their arms were in the air. They were shocking in the first half. They got the capture of the last manager and the capture of a lot of managers that way, ”he said on Sky Sports at halftime.

‘Whingebags’ is probably a new term for Rangnick to understand. While he admits there are bigger problems, the body language and attitude of the players is something that needs to change. That’s one of the reasons why Jadon Sancho started the game on the bench.

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Fernandes was booked for dissent, Ronaldo was lucky not to be sent off for a challenge to Ryan Fraser, born out of frustration, and all members of the starting XI were guilty of raising their arms in the air and complaining in the direction of a teammate. .

United lacks control and lack of precision, but the players also seem to disbelieve in themselves and others. It’s no wonder Rangnick wanted to recruit Sascha Lense as a sports psychologist. There is no cohesion and no method to attack, there are constant problems on defense, as evidenced by the run-up to Allan Saint-Maximin’s opening goal, and problems on and off possession.

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These were all problems associated with Rangnick’s predecessor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and while the new man has only had a few weeks to pass on his ideas, and that term has been marked by a COVID-19 outbreak that shut down training camp. , the exhibition in Newcastle was as abject as anything under Solskjaer.

Rangnick knows what he wants, but the players must step up, as Edinson Cavani did with United’s draw.

It is not surprising that the interim “did not like the performance at all.”

“In three days we have the next game. We can do better, but we have to. We should not look for excuses. We need to be better and do more physical,” he said.

No matter the talk of different systems and coordinated attack formations, Rangnick needs to start with the basics before he can start building something of his own.

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