Rangnick Explains Why Manchester United Players Struggled Against Newcastle

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal with Edinson Cavani.

Reuters/Matthew Childs

Edinson Cavani’s goal off the bench cancelled out Allan Saint-Maximin’s wonderful early strike and salvaged a point for Manchester United.

The result at St James Park ensured Ralf Rangnick’s unbeaten start at United remains intact, but the performance would’ve certainly made him realise that it won’t be as easy to turn things around as it was made during the tail end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign.

The interim boss demanded ‘control’ in his first press conference, but that was scarce on Monday night, as United players lost possession throughout the night and were outpaced and outmuscled by the likes of Joelinton and Saint-Maximin.

Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane were an easy target for criticism post-match, but the interim boss has insisted the defensive issue was due to the team’s collective approach.

“Our problem [vs Newcastle] was that we allowed too many transitional moments, and this is not only a problem of the centre-backs, it’s a problem of the whole team that it starts up front — you can speak about the role of the No 10 in that kind of formation,” Rangnick said.

Last season under Solskjaer, the Red Devils were one of the best teams in Europe during offensive transition. Rangnick’s gegenpressing philosophy also emphasises the need of transitioning during both offensive and defensive phases.

Understandably, the players need time to adjust to the German’s training sessions, but there’s no excuse for struggling to make even five yard passes, which was frustratingly the case against Newcastle.