Ralf Rangnick who is considered to be the pioneer of modern-day football has certainly found it difficult to settle in his new life. It has been a mixed start for Manchester United under their new interim coach. The Red Devils are finding the results even with a lacklustre performance. Rangnick was supposed to change the overview and the whole identity of the club. Instead Manchester United seems to be stuck in the same place where Ole left them after his departure.
The Failure of 4-2-2-2
The criticism that Ole faced was due to his tactical cluelessness on the pitch. The absence of plan B was one of the reasons for his fall as the head coach. But now, United has a manager who is tactically one of the best in the present era and has failed to produce results. Manchester United is a club that embodies the old style of football. Their unwillingness to move along with time has started to haunt them.
Rangnick introduced a new structure and formation which highlighted what modern-day football is all about. Theoretically and on paper this system personifies the way Manchester City and Liverpool set up and play football. However, in practical terms, Manchester United players completely failed to execute it on the pitch. The whole idea behind this formation is trying to press opposition in their half systematically rather than being chaotic. However, the lacks of the press by players eventually led to the failure of this system. With the absence of a traditional defensive midfielder, McTominay and Fred take up that role. Both these players lack the defensive awareness which is required to meet the demand of this position. Thus it became difficult for Manchester United players during the transitioning of the ball. Thus, this system was bound to fail it was just a matter of time.
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Rise of the 4-3-3
Rangnick introduced a module against Brentford last night. The new 4-3-3 system allowed Dalot and Telles to be more flexible in the attacking half. McTominay took upon the role of sole defensive midfielder while Fred and Bruno took on the role of number 8. The first half from Manchester United was chaotic. Their inability to close the gaps allowed Brentford to attack more freely. Without De Gea Manchester United would have found themselves 2 or 3 behind. McTominay took on the role of the sole CDM against Villarreal which turned out to be a disaster. The first half once again pointed towards another collective failure for Manchester United. However, the second half was a completely different story. No one knows what Ralf said to the team in the break, the words seemed to reach the players.
McTominay took his game on another level. The Scottish midfielder was at the heart of all three goals for Manchester United. Defensively Manchester United became more compact, Brentford hardly found any breathing space in United’s half. Fred and Bruno’s offensive play was once again on display. Each move made by Rangnick enhanced United’s ability on and off the ball.
Without a defensive midfielder, Manchester United may fail to secure their place for the Champions League Football. United’s problem does not end with whether they will secure their place in the top 4 or not. The main issue which will rise by the end of the season will be finding a new replacement for Ralf before the new season starts. 4-3-3 may be the answer for now but it is unlikely that this system will secure Ralf’s position as the head coach of Manchester United.
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