Home » Ralf Rangnick takes just 45 minutes to transform Manchester United

Ralf Rangnick takes just 45 minutes to transform Manchester United

by Red Billy

Ralf Rangnick complained after Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace yesterday that he had only had 45 minutes training with his new side, but whatever he did and said in those 45 minutes had a profound effect on their performance.

We reported yesterday that United won possession in the final third the most times since the Sir Alex Ferguson era (12 times vs. a season average of 4.1). This was one of a number of statistics showing how much higher up the pitch that the German had United playing.

But in an interesting analysis this morning, The Telegraph has delved a little deeper into the tactical changes made during that magical 45 minutes of training.

Rangnick is famed for his ‘eight second’ rule – where he asks his teams to win back possession within that length of time – and this seemed to bring about an increase in recoveries (65 vs a season average of 56.4), high turnovers (11 vs. 7.6), pressed sequences (18 vs. 12.5) and touches in the opposition box (32 vs. average of 22.9).


source: The Telegraph

He also deployed his preferred 4-2-2-2 formation, bringing Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho in off the wings, with Rashford operating as a twin striker with Ronaldo and Sancho as a twin no. 10 with Bruno Fernandes. This in turn allowed Bruno (number 18 in the diagram below) to drop deeper than under previous manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, strengthening the midfield.

It also allowed Ronaldo (number 7) to drop deeper and interestingly, despite Sancho (27) being a twin number 10, his average position was ahead of that of the striker.

The high back line compared to Solskjaer’s last game is very significant, even though we are comparing home and away games.


source: The Telegraph

In another chart, The Telegraph compares the full backs’ positions to those in another home game, against Arsenal, and again, they are measurably higher up the pitch.


source: The Telegraph

The stronger midfield performance and higher press were undoubtedly two factors in the Red Devils keeping their first clean sheet at Old Trafford since April.

United enjoyed 61.15% possession, an increase of 10% on their season average – although a home game against mid-table opposition must be seen as a factor in that – and they only faced eight shots, compared to an average of 14.6.

But one of the most impressive statistics of all was the significant increase in tackles, 24 after a season average of 13.6. That is a tremendous increase.


source: The Telegraph

Rangnick’s men also committed 16 fouls in the game, compared to a season average of 10.7 (source: sofascore.com), meaning that the attempted tackles figure was 40. In a match where United dominated possession, that is extremely high and shows how quickly and how well the team have taken on board their new manager’s instructions.

Of course, nobody should get carried away after one home game against average opposition. But these statistics are so universally different to what went before, indicating that a real revolution is under way at Old Trafford.

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