Ralph Rangnick admits he has been surprised by the level of struggling clubs in the Premier League after a faltering start to his reign at Old Trafford.
In his first seven matches as coach of Manchester United, he played for the three clubs in the relegation zone.
He was fortunate to beat bottom club Norwich 1-0 thanks to a late penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo and was again fortunate to get a point in second-bottom Newcastle after overpowering him.
While they beat Burnley sadly 3-1, they were only on top in the first 35 minutes.
“What surprised me a little bit is that the teams at the lower ranks of the league are very physical and tactically very smart, they play in a very organized way and in this league even against the lowest teams it is never easy,” said Rangnick.
“The big teams can lose those matches.
“In Germany, if the big teams like Bayern Munich play down the teams in ten matches, they will usually win eight or nine matches.”
While Rangnick has lost only once of his seven matches he’s managed, he accepts that the performance hasn’t been great.
Things have definitely improved in the back.
They were leaking goals like Gherbal before he arrived but they scored three clean sheets and only conceded one in the other four matches.
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But he admits he is still trying to balance the side to get more control of the matches.
He said: “I was fully aware that this couldn’t happen overnight. Work is in progress. But we showed that we conceded fewer goals than the last two weeks.
“It’s also about controlling the game and obviously we’ve taken a few steps but things can still get better.
“We have to find the best possible squad, we need to make sure we have the best and newest players on the pitch and that means we can change squads during the match or from one match to the next.
“It’s still a work in progress and there are still quite a few things to improve.”
The biggest thing Rangnick is still trying to get the players to do is press high on the field when they lose possession, something we didn’t see much outside of his first match as referee when they beat Crystal Palace 1-0.
“Never be impatient normally’
He said: “It comes down to how proactive you are when the other team is in possession and not being weak when they are on the counterattack or allowing them a lot of space, possession of the ball.
“We’ve taken a few steps, not as much as we’d like.”
Apparently Rangnick thinks he hasn’t had enough time to get his ideas across with the preparation being disrupted by Covid and then matches coming up thick and fast.
They played Aston Villa in the cup on Monday, winning 1-0, visited Villa in the league this weekend and traveled to Brentford next Wednesday before fourth-place leaders West Ham visit Old Trafford next Saturday.
He said: “As coaches, you are absolutely impatient, you want to be faster and faster, the last few weeks are all about results, getting the best results.
“That would be true against Aston Villa and Brentford and three days later against West Ham it’s about getting the maximum number of points and the rest should be developed in time.”
SunSport reported how Cristiano Ronaldo left training early on Thursday with a thigh injury, but Rangnick is hoping to remain fit for the Villa match.
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