Manchester United’s new interim manager Ralf Rangnick praised his side for their ‘intensity’ during their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Monday.
The German was overseeing his first match in charge of the first team after his visa was approved following his move from Lokomotiv.
Rangnick is known for his development of the high-intensity, high-pressing approach that was made famous in the Bundesliga, amongst other leagues, and was expected to improve the players’ fitness in the coming months.
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"Overall I am very happy. I was positively surprised by the physical state and intensity, the first half-hour was amazing,” he said.
“I felt it was extremely high-tempo, high intensity, always on the front foot, the only thing missing in the first half-hour was not scoring one, two or three goals. But for me it was clear you cannot play the whole game, 90 minutes, at this level of intensity. But even after that we had control of the game. Second-half, we started again well and, in the end, we deserved to win.”
Rangnick claimed he was not expecting such a hard-running display after the quick turnaround from the Arsenal match in midweek.
"I must admit I was surprised, positively surprised because not only did we play Thursday, a late kick-off, we had two days less to recover compared to Crystal Palace,” he said.
And we had not even a full training session yesterday because it was 45 minutes, it was pouring. It was not just Manchester weather, it was disgusting, it was heavy, raining, windy, so it was almost impossible to train in a concentrated and focused manner. But they still did it.
The 63-year-old former Red Bull man explained his usage of a 4-2-2-2 system, which saw Alex Telles and Diogo Dalot again preferred over Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
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“For me, it was logical not to change too many positions or too many things after the win against Arsenal, everyone was fully fit, nobody was injured, fully recovered,” he began.
“I decided to play the same starting eleven. For me, the question was how do we get pressure on the ball, how do we get control?
“So I decided to play 4-2-2-2 with two strikers, not Cristiano (Ronaldo) alone up front, together with Marcus (Rashford), using pace for vertical balls. And, at the same time, with Jadon [Sancho] and Bruno [Fernandes] on the two 10 positions, for the rest of the players it was the same.”
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