Manchester United’s failures continue despite changing of the guard

Even though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked by Manchester United in November 2021, there still seems to be problems at the club.

Ralf Rangnick was appointed as interim manager until the end of the 2021/2022 Premier League season but has struggled. He has previously been a very successful in the German Bundesliga but it’s a different challenge managing in the Premier League.

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Rangnick’s first match as Manchester United boss was against Crystal Palace on December 5. In this game, United attempted to press as a team and were hard to break down, winning 1-0. This performance was an improvement, especially without the ball, but it needed to be backed up in a few games.

United fans got sidetracked with this result and thought that he was their saviour. Rangnick will need to get more performances similar to this one if Manchester United want to finish in the top four this season in the Premier League.

His second Premier League game in charge was a trip to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City on December 11. United fans were excited going into the contest due to previous improvement but it wasn’t the case this time round.

United were back to their old selves with a lack of pressing and not working hard enough as a team. The home side created plenty of chances in this game and only for David De Gea in goal making world class saves, they would have been beaten.

If your goalkeeper is getting Man of the Match on a regular basis it shows how bad the players played in front of him.

This game was a reality check for Rangnick because he didn’t realise how big of a job that he has on his hands at Manchester United. If you are nearly beaten against the lowest team in the Premier League that says you are playing poorly.

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Following the fixture at Carrow Road, there was a COVID-19 outbreak at Carrington which meant that the training ground was closed for four days. This resulted in the postponement of United’s Premier League games against both Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion.

The situation presented another headache for Ralf Rangnick as Manchester United boss. Following enforced 16-day break they faced Newcastle United in the Premier League on December 27.

It was interesting to see if United were fresh or rusty. Unfortunately it was the latter as they were cut open numerous times, especially early on.

Manchester United went 1-0 down on the seventh minute as Allan Saint-Maximin scored, despite being off balance. As the first half went on, Saint-Maximin gave defenders Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane problems with his lightning pace.

United found it hard to create chances in the first half and went into the break behind. You would think that Rangnick would say something to his players at half time before sending them back out but a similar theme continued. However, but United scored an equaliser on the 70th minute as Edinson Cavani netted from close range.

Having found an equaliser, United would have been expected to go on and win the content but that wasn’t the case. Newcastle created some great chances and it took a David De Gea wonder save from Joelinton late on to give Manchester United a draw. This result papered over the cracks from a poor performance.

Sky Sports expert Gary Neville said on Monday Night Football that Portuguese duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes were more focused on whinging at the referee than playing the match. These two are supposed to be United’s best players but their performance in the game was unacceptable.

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Rangnick’s next Premier League match was against Burnley on December 30. United started the match awfully and Burnley should have been ahead after five minutes with Burnley striker Chris Wood missing a great chance.

United built up a 3-0 lead thanks to Scott McTominay, an own goal, and Cristiano Ronaldo, but Burnley still looked dangerous on the counter attack. Aaron Lennon made it 3-1 before half time and this made it an interesting second period

United sat back and invited Burnley onto them and were lucky not to concede any more goals, especially when Burnley defender Erik Pieters missed a great chance late on. You would think that 3-1 is a comfortable win but not in this case as United struggled to victory.

United’s first Premier League game of 2022 was against Wolverhampton Wanders on January 3 and Rangnick picked Nemanja Matic ahead of Fred in midfield for this game.

In the first half, Wolves created numerous chances and should have been two goals to the good at half time. Not many teams play 4-4-2 formation anymore and it is strange that Rangnick sticks with this as United get out run in midfield regularly.

United created a couple of chances in the second half when they brought on Bruno Fernandes but a beautiful finish by Joao Moutinho gave the visitors a well deserved win at Old Trafford.

United’s last few performances were shocking and they are now in seventh position in the Premier League.

While only four points off fourth position, their performances need a serious improvement if they want to finish in that high this season.

The attitude and work rate of the players lately is terrible and they need more motivation from the coaching staff because their lack of work rate and ambition to close players down is unacceptable.

United play as a group of individuals with too many big egos in the squad who walk around when they lose possession. If they don’t consider some big changes then it could be a long road back for one of the most successful teams in England.

The Author

Patrick Morgan

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