Ralf Rangnick and Manchester United again dropped valuable points on Saturday, as they drew 1-1 with Southampton.
The draw leaves Rangnick frustrated, as it is the second game in a row that United have let a lead slip.
Eventually, United’s pressure was rewarded. Sancho gave the home side the lead from a swift counterattack, tapping in at the far post.
However, United were left to rue their earlier missed opportunities. A sluggish start to the second half saw Southampton equalise. Che Adams made it 1-1 with a very composed finish.
The Old Trafford side kept the pressure on to try and find a winner, but despite eight shots on target, they could not find the winning goal. Ultimately, Ralf Rangnick must view this game as another two points dropped in the race for the top four.
Rangnick’s Solskjaer admission
The Manchester United manager has suggested that his predecessor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, will have played a part if Man United fail to qualify for the Champions League.
He said (quotes via Manchester Evening News): “Not finishing in the top four has always been a concern since Ole left the club. That was one of the reasons he had to leave [Man United].”
Rangnick also expressed frustration at his side’s fitness levels, a problem inherited from the previous manager.
“To be honest, I don’t know if we are fit enough to play that way, because I came in the middle of the season. We had no preseason and had in total two weeks in between where we could train.”
He cited the lack of fitness as a reason why United failed to take chances in the second half.
“I would have wished us to stay a bit calmer,” the Old Trafford manager said. “I don’t think it’s a question of physicality with regards to fitness, but it might be.”
“You cannot win games in just a technical way. You have to show some physicality.”
The former Schalke boss is clearly concerned about his side’s fitness levels. Ralf Rangnick sets up teams to play a high-pressing game. However, it seems that the United team initially put together by Solskjaer isn’t built for Rangnick’s style. But with just 14 games left in the season, they need to find a way to adapt.
Does Ralf Rangnick have a point?
It is quite uncommon for a current manager to directly cite his predecessor when discussing difficulties with their team. But Ralf Rangnick may have a point.
In recent weeks, Manchester United’s players have come under fire for their mindset, with others from outside the club questioning their work ethic.
Southampton manager Ralph Hassenhuttl suggested that certain United players are unwilling to work hard defensively. He said: “It is not a big secret that when they lose the ball that the reverse gears are not the best from everybody.”
Meanwhile, former Red Devils full-back Gary Neville told Sky Sports that he feels that it is difficult to blame the manager for their stuttering form, as there are players who are “not putting a shift in”.
However, other pundits are not ready to move the blame away from Rangnick. Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has suggested that United should sack Rangnick and rebuild for next season.
The Old Trafford side have a lot of work to do if they want to finish in a coveted Champions League place by the end of the season. They will hope to quickly improve when they face Brighton on Tuesday night.
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