Ralf Rangnick lost for the first time as Manchester United boss but there’s a simple reason for that, the manager said on USA Network after the 1-0 loss to Wolves at Old Trafford.
“Wolves so far was the best team so far we’ve played collectively and individually,” he said, lamenting Joao Moutinho’s goal to settle the tie. “The goal we conceded was one like too many this season where Moutinho could shoot without too many problems, no pressure.”
Rangnick credited Phil Jones dealing with the initial cross but no one was near Moutinho when he settled the headed clearance and carved a low shot past David De Gea.
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Jones was making his first Premier League start in over 700 days and actually was quite good next to Raphael Varane, as United was missing Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, and Victor Lindelof.
And Rangnick is yet to have access to Paul Pogba, but really a team with Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, and Jadon Sancho should be able to get to work.
“We didn’t play well at all,” Rangncik said. “The first half we had key moments to keep them away from our box. Second half we changed to three at the back and had better luck.”
Rangnick had to change from a 4-2-2-2 because it asked way too much of Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay, especially since Bruno Fernandes was one of the players kept out of the mix.
And, again, Wolves showed that having a pair of game runners in Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho is enough to make a 4-2-2-2 a problem.
“[Wolves] are playing with four, almost five central midfielders. Whenever they released through their wingbacks we were also struggling,” Rangnick admitted. “They didn’t have as many chances in the second half but scored. They deserved to win.”
The post-match comments again seemed to point toward Ronaldo, although this time it was about United’s struggles to press Wolves rather than its notorious body language issues.
“We didn’t press at all,” Rangncik said. “We tried for 10-15 minutes but we were not able to get into those situations. They had us overloaded in the central midfield.”