Ralf Rangnick made the perfect start to his Manchester United career with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
United controlled the game and were unlucky to not go in front after a very commanding first half performance.
It looked as though Palace might hold on after an improved effort in the second half, but the rejuvenated Fred popped up with a right footed effort from outside the box to secure the three points.
Here’s three things we learnt from today’s game:
Impressive first half
United made a very fast start to the encounter and took control of the game in a way in which they haven’t very often this campaign.
There were early signs of Rangnick’s philosophy shining through, as United employed a high pressing game while keeping the away side at bay.
The numbers back this idea up, as United produced their best first half of the season, winning the ball six times in their opponent’s half and managing 26 touches in the Palace box.
Crystal Palace [H] was Man Utd’s strongest first half of the season for:
🔘 passed ending in the final third 
🔘 passes into the final third 
🔘 touches in the opposition’s box 
🔘 passes into the opposition’s box 
🔘 possession won in the final third  pic.twitter.com/4wunH8xq0V
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 5, 2021
While the results under Michael Carrick were brilliant, the performances were not quite at the same standard, Rangnick’s first game delivered both.
There’s been much debate over United’s fullbacks, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw both struggling to regain their best form this campaign.
While Shaw has looked off the pace, the questions surrounding Wan-Bissaka’s development are more concerning, with some arguing the right back will never be good enough on the ball for a top team.
In their absence, Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles have both looked impressive in the wins over Arsenal and Palace, with their attacking abilities offering United a lot going forward.
Both given an eight out of ten for their performance today, its great to see both fullbacks staking their claim for a regular spot in the first XI.
Performance more important than results
While Carrick’s short spell at the helm required instant results, which he delivered with aplomb, United fans now need to see some progression in performances.
Rangnick’s preferred style of play is no secret, and it was encouraging to see some early signs of his philosophy on display against Palace.
United’s style of play under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was perhaps harder to define, with the Norwegian often being criticised for a perceived lack of direction given to his stars.
While football is ultimately a results business, watching a United side with a clear plan and defined tactical system will be a joy to observe.