Ralf Rangnick knows the script regarding what people are expecting from his Manchester United and their concerns about the work rate of a certain world-class center forward.
So Rangnick did offer high praise to Cristiano Ronaldo as well as the pressing attitude of his team as United won his Old Trafford debut with a 1-0 defeat of Crystal Palace on Sunday.
“The first 30 minutes, I was really impressed: high-speed, high-intensity, high-tempo,” Rangnick said. “The only thing missing at that point in the game was 1-0. … It’s all about proactively playing and defending, even after the 1-0, trying to put them under pressure and this is what I wanted to see from them today.”
Fred’s wondrous winner put United in front but Palace has few chances to score before the Red Devils’ breakthrough.
Rangnick’s XI wasn’t different from the side that beat Arsenal, drawing questions whether interim boss Michael Carrick was a bit cheeky in saying the new boss didn’t make an imprint on the midweek plans.
United is now unbeaten in four matches since it fired Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, though there were surely some new manager nerves on display versus Palace.
How did Ralf Rangnick rate Cristiano Ronaldo’s work rate?
Rangnick might’ve seen Ronaldo at his “impress the new guy” antsy, fumbling away a couple of chances, but he was impressed by the work put in by Ronaldo.
It shows veteran savvy that even if he wasn’t impressed, he cut right into the “Ronaldo hurts the team shape” storyline.
“We wanted to play with two strikers, especially in the central position. By the way, Cristiano Ronaldo’s work off the ball, chapeau.”
Rangnick said he was even more impressed by the fact that his only training session with the team was a short, abnormally-windy and rainy day.
“After only one training session, and it was not really a full training session. We had 45 minutes on the pitch, rainy, pouring, windy and my assistant coaches told me that even for Manchester it was extreme. With one training session and quite a few conversations, what they did defensively, we had full control of the game.