Ralf Rangnick found himself "making up systems" during Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to Wolves according to Jamie Redknapp, while Paul Ince feels his former side are "all over the place" at the moment.
The game was goalless going into the last 10 minutes, only for Joao Moutinho to pop up with a late winner for the visitors.
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The final scoreline belied the dominance of Bruno Lage’s side, who registered 19 shots to United’s nine and six on target to United’s two. Moutinho and Ruben Neves bossed the midfield, with Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic looking ineffective by comparison.
Speaking after the match, Redknapp and fellow Sky Sports pundit Ince offered a withering assessment of Rangnick’s favoured 4-2-2-2 formation and the team’s all-round performance. “[Wolves] were playing against a side who were so devoid of confidence, of ideas, of how to play,” said Redknapp.
“We speak about the managers coming into the game, and [Rangnick] came in with this famed 4-2-2-2 system. It doesn’t work.
“You have to have the right players, it doesn’t matter what system you play. Then he went to a three at the back, he played 4-4-2, and in the end I think he was making up systems.
“There was no real idea, no identity to how they were trying to play. The Watford performance was a real low for Manchester United, but I’m sure the Man Utd fans will look at today and think: ‘At least we looked a bit exciting going forwards.’ There was nothing today.
“When you watch Manchester City play – and all the best teams – they have control of the midfield. United never had any control of that midfield today.”
Ince, who won two Premier League titles as a player with United, was equally scathing. “I’ve said it before, but you can sense in the stadium the fans are now starting to turn,” he said. “When [Mason] Greenwood come off, they were booing.
“I agree with Jamie, 4-2-2-2 doesn’t work. Whether or not it’s the new Man Utd way, I don’t get it. If I look at that performance – [plus] Norwich, Newcastle – there’s a lot of room for concern here. There really, really is.
“Look at what [Antonio] Conte’s done at Tottenham in such a short space of time, in seven or eight [league] games. [Ragnick] has had five games now. I don’t see what they’re doing. I think they’re all over the place.
“They’ve got no faith, they’ve got no belief in each other, they’re playing as individuals. When [Bruno] Fernandes came on they looked a lot better, but we’re just hoping, hoping that we’re going to get a performance from them.
“Do you see Ralf being the manager come the end of the season? The answer on the basis at this moment – and it is early doors – you’ve got to say no. I’m not sure if this job is a poisoned chalice. It’s the biggest job in the world, the biggest club in the world, but it’s like a poisoned chalice.”
Ince also questioned the players after defender Luke Shaw gave a frank assessment of the performance in his post-match interview.
“If I had a bad game, Roy Keane would be on to me, Peter Schmeichel…” said Ince. “I don’t see that. They’re soft. This is a soft, soft team.
“He (Shaw) talks about great players – I don’t see great players there. I see (Cristiano) Ronaldo, who’s a great player, but I don’t see anyone else great there.”
While Rangnick has three wins, a draw and a defeat from his five league games in charge, United remain seventh in the table and four points off the Champions League places.
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