Three moments that proved Ralf Rangnick needs time at Manchester United after Young Boys draw – Omar Garrick

Although Manchester United’s draw against Young Boys mattered not in terms of Champions League qualification, Ralf Rangnick was still left unhappy with his side’s performance.

Many of United’s senior players were given the opportunity to rest ahead of the hectic Christmas schedule, meaning some of the club’s burgeoning youngsters were afforded the chance to impress.

However, there were some clear flaws in United’s display and, while we can’t be overly critical of Rangnick’s young side, it’s evident that improvements will need to be made.

We’ve listed three moments from Wednesday’s draw that proved Rangnick needs more time to instil his philosophy at United.

1. Sitting back

I actually thought United played well in the first 30 minutes. They were on the front foot and had an energy about them, but after that they lost possession far too easily and struggled to control the game.

In the final 10 minutes of the first-half, United were making too many sloppy mistakes, similar to the ones we saw so often during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure. One moment in particular epitomised this problem and it led to the goal United conceded on the stroke of half-time.

Donny van de Beek played a poor pass to Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Fabian Rieder intercepted to hit a superb shot past Dean Henderson. While the error was obviously the catalyst for the goal, the home side’s set-up at the time was all wrong, with seven United players camped in their own half meaning Van de Beek had very few options further up the field.

This is a photo of the goal Manchester United conceded against Young Boys in the Champions League game at Old Trafford.
United left a massive gap between the midfield and attack (via BT Sport YouTube)

Rangnick addressed his frustration at this matter after the game, saying: “In the last 10 minutes of the first-half we played more or less like the team played in the weeks before. We were less proactive, we were dropping back too far.

“What annoyed me most was the way we played to the pressing first line. So we sent quite a few pressing invitations to them, including the goal we conceded. We had the chance to not only clear the ball but play the ball forward twice but we didn’t. They had the opportunity to score the equaliser.”

Clearly, it’s going to take some time to adapt to Rangnick’s philosophy.

2. Second-half fitness

Like we saw against Crystal Palace, there was a massive drop off in the second-half from United. Of course, this is to be expected because Solskjaer didn’t demand such a pressing system from his team, and it further highlights the need for patience with Rangnick.

Ralf Rangnick the interim / caretaker manager / head coach of Manchester United talks to Juan Mata of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League group F match between Manchester United and BSC Young Boys at Old Trafford on December 8, 2021 in Manchester, United Kingdom.
United dropped off in the second half

United had four goal attempts in the first-half compared to three in the second. They also had less possession in the second-half (46% compared to 50%), they completed fewer passes (201 compared to 210) and there was a decrease in the amount of dangerous attacks there produced (12 compared to 18).

It’s obvious that some of the players need to get to grips with the new pressing system, otherwise their future at Old Trafford could be called into question.

3. Amad and Mata opportunities

There were two moments in the first-half that showed where United need to improve in the final third. Yes, this was a second-string team, but it’s vital they prove they’re capable of stepping in when needed so Rangnick has a competitive squad.

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Amad, who was positioned on the right of Rangnick’s frontline, scuffed an early chance when through on goal.

Juan Mata also had a great chance that went to waste and, while I have sympathy for the Spaniard, he’ll know he should have done better.

Rangnick needs to use his managerial nous to help improve United’s attacking options because we can’t just rely on Cristiano Ronaldo to keep digging us out of holes.

How long does Rangnick need to improve United? Follow our United On My Mind writer Omar Garrick on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.

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