Ralf Rangnick

Eight days a week: Recap of Rangnick's start

Sunday 12 December 2021 16:00

Just over a week after being introduced to the media as Manchester United’s interim manager, Ralf Rangnick watched his new side overcome Norwich City on Saturday to make it back-to-back 1-0 wins in the Premier League.

Eight days on from his inaugural press conference in the job, the German oversaw another winning effort from the United dugout as Cristiano Ronaldo’s 75th-minute penalty ensured we would grind out all three points at Carrow Road.

The result came off the back of his reign-opening triumph over Crystal Palace by the same scoreline in the competition last weekend, and the midweek draw with Young Boys in the Champions League in which he named an all-changed XI. 

It means the 63-year-old has achieved victories in his opening home and away matches as Reds boss, while also having the opportunity to see as many as 27 different players in action for the first time, giving him some invaluable knowledge for the months ahead. 
Highlights: Norwich 0 United 1 Video

Highlights: Norwich 0 United 1

Watch Ronaldo's emphatic penalty and De Gea's string of brilliant saves in our 1-0 away victory...

In that introductory meeting with the media on Friday 3 December, Rangnick spoke about his initial aims for this squad, outlining his imminent intentions to “bring more balance” and “control” to the group, with a particular emphasis on bringing the number of goals conceded down.

With that in mind, the German can be satisfied with his team’s output over his early days here, with the Reds conceding just once across his first three games in charge. 

That goal of course came in the Champions League draw with Young Boys in midweek, with back-to-back clean sheets in the Premier League on either side of it, for the first time since March. 
The successive shutouts in the competition have seen Rangnick become only the second United boss to register a clean sheet in his first two league games after Ernest Mangnall in 1903.

Balance is something that hasn't been exclusive to the defensive side of our game either, with the three strikes in his time at the club so far netted by the same number of players. 

Ronaldo’s winner in Norfolk on Saturday was his 13th goal of the campaign, while Mason Greenwood superbly notched in his first outing since October on Wednesday, after Fred had opened his account for the season with the decisive effort against Crystal Palace. 
Highlights: United 1 Young Boys 1 Video

Highlights: United 1 Young Boys 1

Watch the pick of the action from Old Trafford, including Mason Greenwood’s stunner…

Since his move to Manchester was made official, Rangnick’s ‘gegenpressing’ philosophy, his demands for high intensity on the pitch and the implementation of his favoured 4-2-2-2 system have been regular talking points. 

Despite the early signs of these being imprinted in the Reds’ current crop, it’s the substance of the results this week that will have no doubt pleased him the most. 

As well as speaking about those principles in that first press briefing, the former RB Leipzig manager insisted that his focus is ultimately “about winning games” in the role.

Highlights: United 1 Crystal Palace 0 Video

Highlights: United 1 Crystal Palace 0

Watch Fred's stunning goal and other key moments from our 1-0 win over the Eagles...

After Saturday’s victory in East Anglia, the German acknowledged that his team still have areas for improvement.

But it would be fair to say that his first week in charge has certainly laid down a solid foundation for the Reds to grow from in the weeks ahead, and he will no doubt now be looking to see his side garner further momentum.