Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick doesn’t get the credits he deserves after he masterminded the victory over Leeds United.
Rangnick decided to start Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka against Leeds, knowing that Marcelo Bielsa’s men are fond of playing high pressing football.
Lingard returning back to the starting lineup in what was touted as an important game in Manchester United’s quest for a top-four finish this season raised many eyebrows but Rangnick had his reason why he made the tactical change.
The ex-RB Leipzig boss wanted Lingard to help press The Whites higher up the pitch, and he did just that, helping United lead 2-0 at half-time.
Wan-Bissaka returning back to the starting lineup was only a matter of time after Diogo Dalot has failed to convince some United fans that he offers more in the attack than Wan-Bissaka.
The former Crystal Palace defender did exactly what many fans wanted to see – to help Manchester United’s struggling backline. United could have conceded more if Wan-Bissaka hadn’t started the game, some fans on Twitter claimed.
Shortly after the second half, Man United lost their first-half two-goal lead after Rodrigo and Raphinha scored two quick goals.
United were under pressure to restore their lead and it was time for the senior players to step up and decide how the game would end.
Twenty-two minutes into the second half, Manchester United weren’t close to getting their third goal. Ralf Rangnick took matters into his hand, as a result.
The German tactician decided to haul off Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard for Fred and Anthony Elanga respectively. As expected, Pogba’s decision raised many eyebrows as he was one of the top performers on the pitch.
However, Rangnick’s gamble paid off when Fred scored the third goal three minutes later with a superb strike. I must admit, Fred scoring a goal was as surprising as Rangnick’s decision to replace the World Cup winner.
Late on in the game, Ralf Rangnick hauled off Cristiano Ronaldo, even when the game needed more goals from Manchester United, in a bid to tighten his backline by bringing in Raphael Varane, and that raised eyebrows too.
This tactical twerk enabled Rangnick to put Elanga as his centre-forward. Three minutes after Ronaldo’s substitution, the Man United academy graduate scored United’s fourth and last goal of the game with a top finish.
Rangnick, the risk-taker, explains why he had to replace Paul Pogba midway through the second half.
The Man United interim boss said: “He [Paul Pogba] did great but after 60-minutes I think he was a little bit tired, which is normal after such a long injury break and it was great to bring on two energetic players like Fred and Anthony Elanga.”
Rangnick confessed that he didn’t bring in Elanga and Fred to get on the scoresheet, insisting that the reason behind the changes was to add more energy to the team.
“They [Fred & Elanga] both scored in the end and this is the best part of it but I didn’t bring them on actually to score goals,” said Rangnick.
“It was more about getting more energy into the team again and playing in a similar style to as we did in the first half.”