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Ralf Rangnick, the temporary manager of Manchester United, understood he was embarking on a difficult task at Old Trafford. Wolves’ 1-0 loss at home only reinforced it.
Rangnick was honest enough to admit that after a result that put United in seventh place, two points behind Tottenham, who have a game in hand: “Looking at today’s performance, I don’t know if people will believe that if I say we are 100 percent convinced we will finish in the top four, I don’t know if people will believe that.”
However, United’s entire performance was reminiscent of the gloomy conclusion of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure, with the visitors dominating for lengthy stretches of time.
Full-back Luke Shaw even questioned the cohesiveness of his squad, claiming Wolves were “far superior.”
Rangnick’s decision to replace Mason Greenwood with Bruno Fernandes was met with boos from the fans, indicating a lack of togetherness.
The one bright spot from the defeat was the return to action of centre-back Phil Jones, who excelled in his first Premier League game in 712 days, earning Shaw’s praise for his “phenomenal” performance.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes both had two attempts on goal for United in each half.
‘More motivation is required.’
It was United’s first loss since Solskjaer’s penultimate game in charge, against Watford on November 20, but it was far from Rangnick’s team’s first poor performance.
“I knew it would be tough,” Rangnick remarked when asked whether the task he’s taking on is greater than he expected.
“That’s why they brought me here.” I knew finding a balance between offense and defense would be difficult.
“We demonstrated comparable issues that the team faced three or four weeks prior to my arrival. Developing a DNA with and without the ball is a difficult task. The game today demonstrated that there are still many steps to be taken.”
Rangnick also admitted that Wolves were the superior team “particularly in the first-half” and criticised his side’s inability to stop Adama Traore from crossing the ball that led to Joao Moutinho’s goal and get to the ball when Jones headed it away.
United’s eight-match undefeated run came to an end when replacement Fernandes hit the crossbar before Jose Sa saved the Portuguese midfielder’s injury-time free-kick, leaving them an unbelievable 22 points behind champions Manchester City.
Shaw told Sky Sports, “We have to put more pressure on them, we have to have intensity.” “I didn’t suppose we were all at the same place at the same time.”
“When you look at the athletes we have, you can see that we have incredible talent, but sometimes talent isn’t enough. We need to up the ante in terms of intensity and drive.
“We know what we want in the dressing room, but we have to give it our all on the field. To win these sorts of games, we must all work together 100 percent of the time “”Mission.”
Jones was a ‘phenomenal’ performer.
Three shots were blocked by Phil Jones. No other United player has ever had more than one block.
Jones previously said that he had “gone through hell and back over the past couple of years” due to injury and confinement.
The 29-year-old was sidelined last season due to a knee injury and last featured for United’s first squad in the FA Cup third round in January 2020.
It’s the longest period of time between appearances for Manchester United in the Premier League for any player who hasn’t left the club, including loan periods.
Micah Richards, a former Manchester City defender, praised Jones as United’s “best player” and “only positive” on Radio 5 Live.
Shaw said, ” “Phil Jones has a lot to be proud of. He’s been chastised for years and has been through a lot, but he’s a consummate professional who was outstanding. He was fantastic, and I am delighted for him. He really deserves it.”
Jones’ first touch, a clearing header, drew rapturous cheers from the home crowd, and following a typically strong challenge on Daniel Podence, he was soon ordering Aaron Wan-Bissaka about and pushing the United supporters to make more noise.
Given how easily he might have been overcome by the social media mockery he has been exposed to, the fact that it was Jones’ clearance that led to Moutinho’s winner should not diminish the importance of a player whose moral fortitude is shown just by his return to the United side.
“He did well,” Rangnick added. “He hadn’t played at that level in two years, yet he looked as if he had just played two weeks ago. We didn’t lose because of Phil Jones, for sure.”
‘Insipid United has an excessive number of passengers.’
“It’s too early to criticize Rangnick because United were such a mess, but it was such an insipid performance,” Chris Sutton, a former Blackburn and Celtic striker, told Radio 5 Live. There are just too many people on board. They have a lot of issues.
“Some players run, while others do not. That is a significant issue. United’s next step after the summer signings was to win a title – they wanted to become Manchester City. They are useless and a tragedy when they are not in possession.
“Will Manchester United be able to break into the top four? It seems to be exceedingly improbable.’
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Manchester United 0 is a football match that took place on the 18th of March 2018. The highlights from this game are available to watch on YouTube. Reference: manchester united highlights today youtube.
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