Wayne Rooney is fearful that Ralf Rangnick’s 4-2-2-2 formation would lead to Manchester United being “punished” by the likes of Liverpool and Man City.
Rangnick suffered his first defeat as Man Utd boss on Monday night. This came as they hosted Wolves at Old Trafford.
Bruno Lage’s side were the better side throughout as they had 19 shots at United’s goal.
Joao Moutinho scored the winner for Wolves in the 82nd minute. They are now only three points behind seventh-placed Man Utd in the Premier League.
The Red Devils now only have two wins from their last five games across all competitions. They have a favourable run of fixtures in the league until they face Man City on March 5.
They also face Tottenham, Liverpool and Leicester in the commencing weeks after the derby.
Rooney has told The Athletic that his “concern” with United is Rangnick’s preferred 4-2-2-2 set-up:
“I’ve been to a few games, taken my kids. Obviously it’s been difficult for them,” Rooney said.
“I think it had got to the point with Ole where everyone could see it was coming to an end. With the new manager now, you don’t know. I’m sure it’s a lot different to anywhere he has managed before. There’s a lot more pressure, managing a lot of high-profile players.
“I was at his first game against Crystal Palace and I thought they looked very good. My only concern, with that shape, was that when you come up against better teams — Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal — you could get punished.
“The most important thing is that the players need to buy into it. He needs to get them working as a group rather than as individuals.”
“We speak about managers coming into the game and he came in with this famed 4-2-2-2 system – it doesn’t work.
“When you come here, you have to have the right players, it doesn’t matter what system you play. Then he went to a three at the back, today he played 4-4-2 and at the end of it, I think he’s making up systems. There was no real identity of how they were trying to play.
“The Watford performance [losing 4-1 in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last game] was a real low for Manchester United, but I’m sure the Manchester United fans will have looked today and thought, ‘At least we’ll look to be exciting going forward’, but there was nothing today. They never had control of the game.
“When you watch Manchester City play and all the best teams, they have control in the midfield. United never had any control of that midfield today. Never once have they played passes to each other, they never had an ability to just take the sting out of the game, to get some confidence.”
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