Ralf Rangnick was impressed by Cristiano Ronaldo’s “work off the ball” as Man Utd beat Crystal Palace 1-0 on Sunday.
The new interim boss was only unveiled on Friday, just one day after Michael Carrick took charge of his last match as caretaker boss, a 3-2 win against Arsenal.
Rangnick had precious little time to work with the players given the swift turnaround, but Man Utd played on the front foot from the outset against Palace with impressive intensity and energy.
Their performance petered off after that breathless opening 30 minutes but Fred stepped up late on to secure an important 1-0 victory with a superb curling effort from the edge of the box.
Ronaldo had been accused of failing to press this season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but Rangnick reserved special praise for the Man Utd striker.
“I am very happy with the way the team performed, especially the first half hour, with the pressing, it was exceptional. The only thing missing was the 1-0 or 2-0,” Rangnick told Match of the Day.
“The way we defended, we had control of the whole game, the clean sheet was the most important part.
“These are the things we must improve. We need to keep clean sheets. With just the one training session, I was really impressed. We did much better than expected.
Manchester United won possession in the final third 12 times vs. Crystal Palace.
That’s the most they’ve done so in a Premier League match since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
What an impact Ralf Rangnick has made already! pic.twitter.com/z1rigMRwnb
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 5, 2021
“We always tried to be on the front foot. We were never not apart from maybe the last five minutes. At all other times we were trying to keep them away from our goal.
“We wanted to play with two strikers, especially in the central position. By the way, Cristiano Ronaldo’s work off the ball, chapeau!”
Fred scored only his sixth goal in his time at Old Trafford on Sunday and Rangnick was pleased to see the Brazilian get on the scoresheet.
The new Man Utd interim boss added: “I had to ask my assistant coach if that was Fred’s right foot. I thought he could only shoot with his left! I’m happy for him.
“It’s always easier to build on things after you’re successful. We must produce further clean sheets and get better at creating chances for our attack. Overall I was very pleased with the way we played today.”
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