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Ralf Rangnick is meeting his first Manchester United target – Richard Fay

It will take some time before Ralf Rangnick truly makes his mark at Manchester United, but the early impressions are certainly impressive after only two weeks in the job.

The German coach officially took charge of the club after the victory against Arsenal, overseeing just one full training session before United returned to action with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace.

Since then, there has been a dead rubber draw with BSC Young Boys in the Champions League and another ‘dirty’ league win over Norwich by the same 1-0 scoreline.

It was on the most recent trip to Carrow Road that questions about Rangnick’s impact were first properly asked. United had a new formation, a few fresh faces in their squad, but still struggled to control the match against a relegation-threatened side.

The truth of the matter is that United’s players are still getting used to their new duties and have an element of deprogramming to do from the frantic approach that underpinned their turbulent form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer earlier in the season.

Solskjaer himself revealed he was concerned United had been “attacking too quickly” at times this season, rushing into poor decisions when they were in possession of the ball and ultimately wasting good opportunities as a result of an urgency to get forward.

It will take a while before United put bad habits away and adapt to their new demands, but despite the teething issues there is still clear evidence of progress being made under the interim manager.

In each of their wins under Rangnick so far, United have managed to keep clean sheets — meaning they now have as many in the league this season under the German as they did under Solskjaer. It is a step in the right direction.

Rangnick identified the poor defensive record as one of the areas in which he felt he could make an immediate improvement, and he has done so by reiterating that a clean sheet is evidence of a team’s overall display, rather than that of just a keeper and his defence.

Speaking after the win over Norwich, he said: “The second half was a little bit better, but at the end we were lucky to have a clean sheet, and there were two or three clean sheets by David de Gea.

“It’s another clean sheet, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

“We have conceded the highest amount of goals in the top ten. Now we have two clean sheets, which is good, but we still need to improve on that, especially against physical teams or teams that attack high like Norwich did.”

The interim manager pointed out that he still has concerns about the players’ body language and physicality against teams that like to play direct, and if he is to keep up the rejuvenated defensive record, it is something that needs to be urgently addressed.

So early in Rangnick’s reign, it is still a case of small steps towards getting better, and the immediate improvement in clean sheets is evidence that they are now on the right track.

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