It was quite a struggle to watch. Man Utd are even lucky to get out with a point. A 1-0 loss would have even been kind. Pound for pound, it was horrible horrible display. Varane came back in and he looked like a man that had hardly played football, giving away the ball. Maguire managed to display some inadequate defending that allowed Saint Maximin to arrow the ball in the net. It was up there with the worst of the displays under Ole and a double substitution at half time signified how much needed to change. Sancho and Cavani came in for Fred and Greenwood. Everyone but De Gea could have been subbed and there would have been little to argue about. Cavani was able to get the Red Devils back on level terms when he turned his miskick into a goal. It was a poor display and one that should be consigned to the back of the mind.
With 16 days off, there were only two ways that it was going to go: extremely fresh off an extended break or a turgid display. It was clearly the latter. Of course there was a lack of training within those 16 days as the training ground was closed for a bit of it but there was still work being done in the analysis. Well, those were the words. Alike what we have seen throughout the season, the men in red looked like they had not seen each other before they stepped onto the pitch. It was quite remarkable at how bad the passing was. That’s something to say when just in the last game, the passing was something out of a horror movie. It managed to get even worse today. Maguire started the nerves with a loose touch in the first minutes and his partner, Varane would follow suit in the events that led to the Saint Maximin’s goal. Although he has been more of a star man since Rangnick’s arrival, Fred went back to his usual self and somehow managed to dip below the aggressively low standard he has set himself in the 4 seasons at Old Trafford. When Rangnick subbed the Brazilian at HT to move Bruno deeper, it shows you how badly Fred acquitted himself in those opening 45 minutes. He wasn’t the only one however and it would be remiss of me to focus solely on him. Bruno was his disgustingly bad self when it came to retaining possession and making sensible decisions. Rashford’s form continued in the same shocking way. Ronaldo was extremely poor once again. Greenwood, one of the two chances from the Norwich match, was surprisingly awful on the ball. He kept turning the ball over and with Ronaldo’s low touch style of play, it was up to the young man to make the ball stick.
The press is nowhere near the levels and while understanding this is still the formative stage in Rangnick’s tenure, it is quite scary to see how little we have seen in its progression within the time frame that the German coach has been here. Control was harped on about and yet the lack of it, on and off the ball, just shows how far this team has to go in becoming a serious contender in the Premier League, not just for the title but even a top four spot.
Neville said after the Leicester game that he would not like to play the front four of Sancho Greenwood Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo. It is not a cogent mix. The change for the Premier League game saw Greenwood come in for Sancho. United were 4-0 down by half time against Liverpool. It is that front line that started today, albeit shifted with a front two and Bruno in a wider position now. It still stunk as badly as it did in that horrible 5-0 defeat against Liverpool. Bruno and Rashford are high risk high rewards type of players. Ronaldo, as mentioned earlier, is a low touch player. Greenwood is more high touch but his best work comes when in and around the area being able to get shots off. FIFA might be a football game but reality rarely follows that. It’s a front line that would probably see on the game. There’s a lack of connectivity between the players. There is no one knitting the attacks together and making sure pressure is sustained. It makes the Sancho exclusion even more curious and his substitution into the game at half time was fixing a mistake that should have never been made in the first place. His performance off the bench was nightmarish anyway so it is not just a personnel issue. It is a new manager getting to know his squad but there are some mistakes that are amateurish and putting that XI out was from Rangnick. Hopefully it is a mistake he never makes again.