RALF RANGNICK must have a sinking spirit already at Manchester United.
This group of underperforming Red Devils have already found two bosses with average performances in Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
An alarming figure that United have lost 167 times in a 1-1 draw at Newcastle on Monday – their highest in the Premier League this season – suggests these players are at the root of the problem.
Failure to complete basic tasks such as approaching a teammate or high pressure shows that Rangnik has a major task on his hands.
Rangnick was brought in to act as buffer before his mold was appointed a new manager over the summer.
The interim chief, who also extended his chance to remain as boss next season, has introduced a new style of play with his 4-2-2-2 formation.
But the intensity, speed and desire to watch the opening 30 minutes of the Rangnik era in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace earlier this month has already waned.
The Old Trafford stars had a 16-day gap between fixtures due to the Covid outbreak – but the German saw his side second-best against relegation – threatening Newcastle.
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No wonder the 63-year-old said he ‘didn’t like the performance at all’.
The lack of recognition on the show was due to the lack of monotony and embarrassing body language of well-paid stars Cristiano Ronaldo, 36, and Bruno Fernandes, 27.
And for Red Devils legend Gary Neville – a staunch defender of the Solskjaer regime and for this group of players – the ‘wing-bags’ at Old Trafford was enough to cause tears.
However, Neville did not end there. He then criticized former teammate Ronaldo for not even bothering to accept United’s 3,000 traveling supporters.
Even the club’s biggest fan is fuming after United drop points and join the league for the first time under Rangnik.
Loyalty can only flourish if Neville criticizes the lackluster performance on live TV.
A grieving 28-year-old captain Harry Maguire from Tyneside said: “No 16-day break in the middle of the football season is going to help you.
“The training ground has been closed and half the kids playing today are recovering from the virus, so it’s not going to help us. roughing it.”
This excuse would stand if other clubs hadn’t got a similar break and came back with a bang.
When you’re being dismissed by a struggling Toon team with one win all season and serious covid issues of their own, the problem isn’t a 16-day hiatus.
It comes down to whether United’s senior players are doing enough to cause and drag their club through a bad patch.
Ronaldo and Fernandes, the biggest wing-bags of many, are failing in this regard, finding every blade of grass they can.
It was another selfish act of superstar Ronaldo going down the tunnel the whole time.
Neville said: “I was lucky. For 20 years I had a great dressing room with characters and personalities.
“Win, lose or draw they were with each other. I don’t think so here.
“There is a leadership struggle going on, Maguire doesn’t feel like a captain. Cristiano upset that hierarchy. I don’t think the mix that is going on is right.”
To add to that, a group of uncertain players being asked to play in a way that is completely different to them in the 4-2-2-2 that works well in the Bundesliga.
In love, the jury is still out as it depends on willing runners and unwavering commitment. Neither appear to be present in this United team.
Doubts remain over Ronaldo’s ability to press, with Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford struggling to adapt.
Rangnik – a man who has devoted his life to playing a certain way that revolutionized European football – is hardly one to back down from his beliefs.
But you think that if United are going to salvage another season, some sort of compromise has to be made.
Rangnik honeymoon is over. If things don’t change fast, Mourinho and Solskjaer know full well how it could end – as do current United teams.
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