Michael Carrick has proven himself to be a worthy interim manager since the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjær, winning the Champions League clash against Villarreal and drawing against Premier League leaders Chelsea. While issues with Ralf Rangnick’s work visa were being resolved, the Englishman took the team onto the pitch against Arsenal.
The German coach has a challenging task to get Manchester United back into the top-four and secure the Champions League place next season. The bookmakers at the list of the most trusted operators here already added the bets if Rangnick will cope or fail this task. His to-do list doesn’t seem to be huge at first glance, but it’s not that simple.
One of the biggest challenges facing United’s managers is Pogba’s talent, hampered by his low motivation in games for the club. After a bright start in the Premier League, where Paul contributed seven goals in his first four games, the midfielder has traditionally gone into the shadows. He received only one yellow and one red card each in the next five, the latter in the crucial match against Liverpool.
The player’s contract expires in 2022, and many sources report that Manchester City is ready to release the midfielder as a free transfer. But while he is in the squad, Rangnick needs to decide what to do with Pogba: give him a chance on the team and try to find common ground, release him as a substitute or forget about the Frenchman since he is not helpful.
How to use Ronaldo
The situation with Ronaldo is more compelling and complex. Before the season, there was an absolute certainty that the player would transfer to another club from Manchester. However, somewhat unexpectedly, Cristiano moved to United. He is undoubtedly a big star and a great striker, but the current squad is entirely unsuited to fit this player into their game.
The Portuguese forward can only be of maximum benefit if the entire squad works for him. The wingers and attacking midfielders must create chances, like Sancho’s cross against Villarreal. The defensive midfielders have to work together to make up for the pressing that Ronaldo won’t provide. The defence and goalkeeper should be prepared for more chances at their goal than without Cristiano on the pitch.
The main difficulty is that Solskjær was not expecting a transfer of this superstar before the start of the season. But he couldn’t refuse the opportunity to work with Ronaldo either. As a result, the team’s results suffered, and the management had to sack the Norwegian specialist. Only time will tell if Rangnick can cope with the pressure of managing with one of the best players in the world.
Gegenpressing and United
It’s not the personalities that remain the main issue, but the complex changes. The last game against Chelsea showed that an utterly defensive tactic could give way to weakness. Statistically, the opponents completely outplayed Carrick’s team: 24 shots to three. With three defensive midfielders on the pitch, United blocked none of them, and only the play of David de Gea, who made five saves, helped save the draw.
Although Rangnick’s methods have been somewhat outdated and many managers, including Tuchel, Klopp, and Guardiola, have improved them, the German specialist will also bring something new to Manchester United. Here is how he describes his working style: “It’s a very proactive style of football. We like to press high, with a very intense counter-pressure. It is fast, proactive, attacking, counter-attacking, counter-pressing, exciting and entertaining football.”
How soon will changes be seen?
Rangnick agreed to stay as a consultant at United until 2024, after finishing his summer interim coachwork. There could be several transfers already this winter, with players both coming and going. After the main squad is evident, we will know the final shape of the game, but not before Boxing Day.
Photo is from pixabay
Guest Author Bio
Victor Sterling is a sports columnist and writer. Among his many hobbies are cooking, long walks and fitness. Between watching a top-tier derby on TV or going to a stadium for some live struggles of a relegation team, he’ll always pick the second one.