How Rangnick’s Transfer Decision Helped Manchester United Against Atletico

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick with technical director.

REUTERS/Phil Noble

Ralf Rangnick’s plan to deploy Victor Lindelof as a right-back to help Manchester United “with aerial duels” against Atletico Madrid was “in the dustbin” after Joao Felix’s goal in the 7th minute.

United struggled with progression on the right due to the absence of a natural right-back. As a result, Bruno Fernandes was forced to drop deeper to find opportunities instead of playing closer to Atletico’s penalty area. In the second-half, Rangnick brought in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who offered energy going forward.

The German’s tactical tweak didn’t work in the Spanish capital, but his transfer decision earned United a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Goalscorer Anthony Elanga, who got the better of Jan Oblak with his first touch of the ball, had “almost” made up his mind to leave United on loan in January.

However, the youngster caught Rangnick’s eye with his performance in the German’s first training session at Carrington, and was awarded with a substitute appearance against Crystal Palace. Later, Rangnick convinced the 19-year-old to continue at United.

“In the first training session, the night before the Crystal Palace game, he was the player with the best training performance in that session so I asked my colleagues and my staff about him and found out that he had almost already decided to leave the club on loan,” Rangnick told MUTV after the full-time whistle at the Wanda Metropolitano.

“He came on against Palace, as we all know, and the week after that I told him ‘listen, I want you to stay, I want to see how you do in training and in the games until the closure of the transfer window.”

In the last few days, Elanga has helped his team put the game to bed against Leeds United before rescuing a draw in the Champions League. Rangnick’s transfer decision is certainly paying off.