Former midfielder Paul Ince has hinted that Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick needs to adjust his team’s formation following Monday evening’s 1-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford.
Joao Moutinho netted the only goal of the game with less than ten minutes of normal time left on the clock to seal a fully deserved three-point haul for Bruno Lage’s side, condemning Rangnick to his first defeat since replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United, not for the first time this season, failed to produce a performance that the supporters could be proud of, with them lacking initiative, ideas and a spark when moving forward with the ball, as well as, once again, being laboured and sloppy in possession, especially in the centre of midfield.
Again, Rangnick deployed his favoured 4-2-2-2 system, with Jadon Sancho, Mason Greenwood, Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani the Reds’ most advanced players, but they failed to have any sort of impact on the contest.
Despite United being in need of continuity to help them develop their understanding of what Rangnick is asking of them, Ince is not convinced by the system the German is playing.
Ince told Sky Sports : “Do you see Ralf being the manager come the end of the season? The answer is, on the basis of this moment and I’d say it’s early doors, you’ve got to say no. I’m sorry but this is where we’re at.
“I’m not sure if this job is a poisoned chalice, they’re the biggest job in the world, biggest club in the world, but it seems like a poisoned chalice. He seems under pressure. This is what it’s like when you’re Manchester United manager.
“What formation is he playing? The one he’s playing now clearly isn’t working. Does he go back to 4-3-3? Does he go back to 3-5-2? All these things you should know what you’re doing by now.
“He’s been there five games. Five games. You know Wolves are going to play three at the back, you know Man City are going to play 4-3-3, you know the way Liverpool play, we’re going from formation to formation to personnel, you cannot get continuity if you’re doing that.
“I get there’s Covid and players are tired, but that’s no excuse. You have a formation and you stick to it it’s very rare to change it the best teams don’t.”
Although the defeat to Wolves was United’s first since Rangnick landed the job, their performances, except for during the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last month, have been far from impressive, with United looking toothless in attack.
“I think we all got hoodwinked into thinking this is the way forward and this was progression,” added Ince. “I get that same feeling now.
“I get the same feeling now that the fixture list that Ralf has come into is a perfect fixture list for a manager managing a big club like Manchester United.
“The performances, besides Palace at home, have been bang average, they really have. If you can ask any Man United fan sitting there now that knows about football ‘do you see progression over what we’ve saw in the last five games’, you’d honestly have to say no.”
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