Ralf Rangnick has praised Manchester United’s performance in Sunday’s 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace and singled out Cristiano Ronaldo for his work off the ball.
The German coach took charge of the Red Devils for the first time and recorded a maiden win thanks to Fred’s brilliant second-half strike, with the first half-hour of the match particularly encouraging as United pressed high and got on the front foot.
There had been some concerns that the 36-year-old Ronaldo would not be a good fit for Rangnick’s gegenpressing style, but the forward worked extremely hard to track back and close down.
His work off the ball did not go unnoticed by his new manager, with Rangnick giving the veteran special praise, while he was delighted with the entire team’s display particularly after just one training session.
“I am very happy with the way the team performed, especially the first half hour, with the pressing, it was exceptional. The only thing missing was the 1-0 or 2-0,” Rangnick told BBC’s Match of the Day. The way we defended, we had control of the whole game, the clean sheet was the most important part.
“These are the things we must improve. We need to keep clean sheets. With just the one training session, I was really impressed. We did much better than expected. We always tried to be on the front foot. We were never not apart from maybe the last five minutes. At all other times we were trying to keep them away from our goal.
“We wanted to play with two strikers, especially in the central position. By the way, Cristiano Ronaldo’s work off the ball, chapeau!”
On Fred’s goal, and what United need to work on going forward, Rangnick added: “I had to ask my assistant coach if that was Fred’s right foot. I thought he could only shoot with his left! I’m happy for him.
“It’s always easier to build on things after you’re successful. We must produce further clean sheets and get better at creating chances for our attack. Overall, was very pleased with the way we played today.”
- A Metro report