When Ralf Rangnick finally gets his hands on this Manchester United team, they will be in a better position than they were a week ago.
Michael Carrick has overseen two positive results, and although football is sometimes unappealing, morale will certainly improve at Old Trafford.
No tactical revolution from Carrick, who claims his ideas are very similar to those of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but there is no doubt that Rangnick will come up with his own ideas for what will and will be ineffective when it comes to fitting these United players into his system.
So what will he learn from Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge? The goal is to break it down:
Sancho scores again
As Jadon Sancho calmly edged past Edouard Mendy to open the scoring for United in west London, he sprinted to celebrate with away fans in the Shed End, slamming his hand into the net making it impossible for the supporters to leave the field.
A moment of relief for the England international? His first goal in the Premier League, and the key one there.
Of course, United scored on the counter-attack. The negative play they have established at Stamford Bridge, playing with three decent defensive midfielders and without a recognized central striker, means that is their only option.
So when Jorginho misjudged Bruno Fernandes’ save and Sancho took the lead, Carrick could have been forgiven for believing his plan was about to come true.
As for Sancho, given the pressure he is under after a slow start to his life at United, he will be forgiven for his words.
Instead, he produced a cool strike and a calm finish to beat Mendy, scoring twice in as many games for the ex-Borussia Dortmund man as he finally found the confidence. as soon as the new manager is about to arrive.
Expect Rangnick to build his attack around a player who knows how to press effectively from his time in Germany.
Fernandes and Ronaldo are cause for concern
When the final whistle blew, Cristiano Ronaldo went straight down the tunnel.
There were no handshakes, no fan acknowledgments and no pats for teammates.
It is becoming a trademark performance from the Portugal international, possibly arising out of frustration when Carrick decided not to catch him in such a big game.
Carrick insists there is “no drama” in letting Ronaldo go, but any decision regarding the 36-year-old leads to huge scrutiny and such calls are something he may have to do. familiar.
Many are wondering how Ronaldo will fit into what is expected to be an intense pressing game when Rangnick arrives; someone who doesn’t fit the style of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, and there are even some people – including Gary Neville – who have considered whether the decision to disqualify Ronaldo could be made by Rangnick himself.
Everyone has seen Ronaldo’s impact in games this season, but one thing he is not a team player. He’s an individual who can deliver moments of brilliance and that doesn’t fit the style Rangnick wants to impose on this team.
Ronaldo is not the only Portuguese player to leave Stamford Bridge in disappointment, as Fernandes’ return is already part of the plans for a reserve captain position.
He did little to vindicate his pick, sending the ball away frequently, and he also went straight down the tunnel the entire time.
With Donny van de Beek stepping up his selection and a wide array of attacking players able to fit in the 4-3-3 formation at Rangnick’s disposal, could he be on the verge of eliminating Fernandes AND Ronaldo? It can come as a shock to the system this dressing room requires.
Can a conservative approach work in the long run?
United may have had a good week in terms of results, but the performance and setup was nothing like what Reds supporters are accustomed to under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Fifteen minutes pass here, Chelsea have 71% possession, and the only surprise is that the number is not higher.
Carrick started with three central defensive midfielders in Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic, and when Thomas Tuchel’s side passed the ball with precision and purpose, United were left with only chasing balls.
Their pressure is an improvement on what has been seen in recent months under Solskjaer, but it is not yet effective enough, and on another day Chelsea could be on the winning side with many goals. better finishing ability.
Here’s an approach that focuses on trying to shut down hosts and then slam them against the counter; A plan that seemed to work for them until Aaron Wan-Bissaka awarded a penalty for a foul on Thiago Silva, which Jorginho converted in the 69th minute.
Despite the results, the way Carrick has set up for United this week is unsustainable. In November, they had the fewest shots of any team in the Premier League, while conceding the most at either end. This screen does not show that the templates are about to change.
“On the pitch, in goal, I felt dangerous for most of the game,” David de Gea told Sky Sports after the game. He was once again called upon to bail for United; something Rangnick will also be able to lean on, though he’ll hope it doesn’t come to that.
Carrick may be the club shirt man tasked with managing the team at the moment, but it was Darren Fletcher, the club’s technical director, who had the biggest say on the borderline on Sunday.
It’s yet to be confirmed what Rangnick’s backroom team’s makeover will look like when he arrives, but with Carrick, Mike Phelan and Kieran McKenna expected to stay on, they should be involved in a number of possibilities. .
However, how it works remains to be seen.
While Tuchel was the sole man to patrol Chelsea’s technical area, it was a game of the staff to his right. Fletcher, who had a headset in connecting him with an analyst in the stands, rose and fell like a yo-yo, arguing with the fourth official about decisions and transmitting to the likes of Wan-Bissaka and Sancho about their positions.
A common theme during Solskjaer’s tenure is that up to five different staff members will be in and around the technical area passing instructions, and one has yet to leave with the Norwegian.
Rangnick will likely come up with his own ideas about management in the game, and it doesn’t seem like that will involve Fletcher shouting, “You’re puzzling me?!” to the fourth official in the same way he did on Sunday.
A more sensible approach would probably be more efficient.