RALF RANGNICK admits he has been surprised by the standard of struggling clubs in the Premier League after a stuttering start to his reign at Old Trafford.
In his first seven games as Manchester United boss he has played all three clubs in the relegation zone.
He was lucky to get a 1-0 win at rock bottom Norwich courtesy of a late Cristiano Ronaldo penalty and was fortunate again to get a point at second bottom Newcastle after being outplayed.
While they beat a woeful Burnley 3-1, they were only really on top for the first 35 minutes.
Rangnick said: What has surprised me a little is the teams in the lower ranks in the league are very physical and tactically very astute playing in a very organised way and in this league even against the bottom teams it is never easy.
The top teams can lose those games.
In Germany if the top teams like Bayern Munich play the bottom teams in 10 games they will ordinarily win eight or nine.
While Rangnick has only lost one of his seven games in charge he accepts performances have not been great.
Things have definitely improved at the back.
They were leaking goals like a sieve before his arrival but have notched up three clean sheets and only conceded one each in the other four games.
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But he admits he is still trying to get a balance right in the side to get more control over games.
He said: I was fully aware this cannot happen overnight. It is a work in progress. But we have shown we have conceded fewer goals than a couple of weeks ago.
It’s also about controlling the game and obviously we have taken a few steps but things can still get better.
We have to find the best possible formation, we need to make sure we have the best, freshest players on the pitch and this means we can change formations during the game or one game to another.
It is still a work in progress and there are still quite a few things to improve.
The biggest thing Rangnick is still trying to get the players to do is press high up the pitch when they lose possession something we have seen little of outside his first game in charge when they beat Crystal Palace 1-0.
‘NEVER NORMALLY PATIENT’
He said: It’s about how proactive you can be when the other team is in possession and not be weak when they are on the counter-attack or allow them too many spaces, and gain possession of the ball.
We’ve taken a few steps, not as many as we want it to be.
Rangnick clearly believes he simply has not had the time to get his ideas across with preparation disrupted by Covid and then games coming thick and fast.
They played Aston Villa in the Cup on Monday, winning 1-0, play Villa away in the league again this weekend and then travel to Brentford next Wednesday before fourth top West Ham’s visit to Old Trafford next Saturday.
He said: As coaches, you’re never normally patient, you want to be quicker and faster, the last few weeks it’s all about results, getting the best poss results.
This will true against Aston Villa and Brentford and three days later against West Ham, it’s about getting max points and the rest has to be developed in time.
SunSport reported how Cristiano Ronaldo had left training early on Thursday with a thigh injury but Rangnick is hopeful that he can still be fit for the Villa game.
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