Ralf Rangnick has admitted he did not expect the level of performance that Manchester United produced in his first game at the helm on Sunday.
United provided a pressing masterclass in the first 30 minutes against Crystal Palace. Their efforts dropped off in the second half, but Fred popped up with the winning goal as United recorded their first clean sheet in 16 games.
Rangnick had only taken over last Monday, but Michael Carrick took charge of Thursday’s win over Arsenal. That left the German with just two days to work with his United squad before Sunday’s victory.
But it was evident that Rangnick had got some of his ideas across to the squad.
“Possession won in the final third was a massive one. What they did is they sustained attacks and they stopped teams cutting through them and they stopped counter-attacks. They won the ball back quicker,” said Neville.
And Rangnick acknowledged a superb first 30 minutes, that took him by surprise.
“If I look back at Palace I don’t think we lacked energy. Obviously first half hour was almost perfect, the way we pressed all over the pitch. I didn’t expect it on that level,” said Rangnick.
“The second-half wasn’t the same tempo but we still controlled the game.”
Rangnick’s second game in charge is against Young Boys in the Champions League on Wednesday at Old Trafford.
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“I haven’t finally decided (my team) but it makes sense we will rest a few players due to the crowded fixture list,” said Rangnick.
“We need to make sure we have as many recovered players as possible but also need the positive momentum.
“The first game in this group we lost at Young Boys so we need to make up for that.”
Asked if United could win the Champions League, Rangnick avoided an answer that would hit the headlines.
“It is too early now. I have only been here a week and played one game.
“Obviously with a club like this we are ambitious in all competitions.”
“Success can only be achieved with development. If we can develop team in next six months.
“(Sunday) showed how team can play. There is still room for improvement. The first clean sheet at Old Trafford since April, it was clear where the priorities should be.
“At the end successful hopefully means playing in the Champions League, and the FA Cup. Not an easy draw. It’s like another Premier League game.”
Raphael Varane, Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw trained on the eve of Manchester United’s Champions League group game against Young Boys.
Having kicked off the Rangnick era with Sunday’s 1-0 win against Palace, the Red Devils will return to Old Trafford already assured of finishing top of Group F.
United’s injury issues appear to be alleviating ahead of Young Boys’ visit, with defender Varane and striker Cavani pictured training with the group on Tuesday morning.
Shaw, who has been absent following recent blows to the head, was also training, as was Jesse Lingard having missed Sunday’s game with an ankle complaint.
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But the United interim boss ruled out Varane and Cavani.
“They both cannot play tomorrow but they were part of the traning today. Edi even yesterday, Rapha the first time.
“Expect them both in full training next week. Both top players. It is also about sustainability. It would be great to have them as soon as possible, but obviously for rest of season,” said Rangnick.
Rangnick confirmed Donny van de Beek and Dean Henderson will start against Young Boys.
“Well to start with they will both play tomorrow, in the first XI.
“Donny came on as a sub last Sunday. Dean is a very ambitious ‘keeper, we need two.”
Meanwhile, Anthony Martial remains sidelined.
“Anthony trained on Saturday and half an hour after he had pain on his knee.
“We had meeting with medical department and we agreed he should try to recover. We need to make sure he reduces pain in next few days and hopefully have him back training next week,” said Rangnick.
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