Manchester United came away with a narrow 1-0 victory against Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.
The tightly fought contest was decided by a 75th minute Cristiano Ronaldo penalty.
The hosts gave a good account of themselves and played nothing like a relegation-threatened team.
New manager Dean Smith would consider himself unlucky as his side probably deserved to come away with at least a point.
A thumping penalty from Ronaldo 🎯
Was it the correct decision?
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 11, 2021
United were instantly put under pressure from the home side and lost control of the game in the opening minutes. In the final third, the Red Devils were particularly poor, with Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford constantly giving the ball away cheaply.
It is one of the aspects of United’s game that Rangnick will have to improve.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Fernandes was the sole creator of the side, and all attacks came through him. He hence had the license to try the fancy pass and give the ball away doing so.
However, many believed that this was not sustainable in a proper system. Rangnick will be looking to improve Fernandes’ decision making. The Portuguese lost the ball 17 times in the first half against the Canaries, which further piled on the pressure for the visitors.
Bruno Fernandes lost possession 17 times in the first half. 65.7% pass accuracy
— StatmanBains 🇩🇪 (@StatmanBains) December 11, 2021
Rashford, too had a forgettable game and struggled against a dogged Norwich defence. Since his return from injury, he has not been in the best of form, and many believe that he is picked in the starting eleven merely due to his pace.
In one-on-one situations, instead of getting his head up and playing the simple pass, Rashford tends to run into the opposition defence and lose the ball. This is frustrating, especially when the team have a good opportunity to create a goalscoring chance.
Ronaldo, Fernandes and Rashford are extremely direct players, always looking to shoot at first sight. This is why many fans were shocked at Rangnick’s decision to substitute Jadon Sancho for Mason Greenwood in the 67th minute.
Sancho is technically very sound and rarely gives away possession cheaply. His ability to link up play could have made it easier for United to sustain attacks.
If Rangnick continues to use to same 4-2-2-2 formation, it might be worth trying Donny Van de Beek in Fernandes’ role. The Dutchman played his best football at Ajax in a more advanced role, and this change in position could benefit him massively.
Mason Greenwood, too might get his chance in place of Rashford up front.
With an unexpected COVID outbreak at the club, United have asked the Premier League to postpone tomorrow’s game against Brentford.
If agreed, it could give Rangnick some valuable training sessions to successfully implement his tactics before the next match.