29 Nov 2021, 10:19

Rangnick influence shows as Man Utd make a point

  LONDON, Nov 29, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - Michael Carrick was adamant Ralf Rangnick
had no role in Manchester United's gameplan for their 1-1 draw at Chelsea,
but the club's impending interim manager would have taken heart from the way
they frustrated the Premier League leaders.

  Rangnick, currently working as Lokomotiv Moscow's director of sports and
development, is expected to be installed this week as United boss until the
end of the season.

  The German has been in talks with United since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was
sacked, leaving Carrick to take the reins for the Champions League win
against Villarreal and Sunday's gritty performance at Stamford Bridge.

  Former United defender Gary Neville said Carrick's decision to drop
Cristiano Ronaldo and pick a defensive 4-3-3 formation with no recognised
striker against Chelsea was a sign that Rangnick was already having an

  "I've a feeling the incoming manager has picked that team as it's a huge
departure from midweek," Neville tweeted.

  There were also suggestions United technical director Darren Fletcher was
sitting on the bench with an earpiece that may have been linked up to

  Carrick refuted Neville's claim, saying: "No, that's not the case."

  Asked if he knew when Rangnick would arrived, Carrick added: "As of now I
haven't got any more news for you really.

  "I was purely focused on the game, so there was enough in my head to
prepare the boys for this.

  "I'm sure I'll be updated and aware and see what happens in the next few

  Regardless of Rangnick's role in United's defiant draw, the 63-year-old
will surely arrive at Old Trafford encouraged by the way they held firm
against in-form Chelsea.

  - 'We nearly pulled it off' -

  Beaten in five of their prior seven league games and languishing 12 points
behind Chelsea, it would have no surprise if United had rolled over in the
same manner they were thrashed 4-1 at Watford in Solskjaer's last match.

  But United held off the Blues using the kind of workaholic approach which
is mandatory in Rangnick's 'gegenpressing' scheme.

  Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford worked hard to deny
Chelsea midfielders Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek the time to start their
team's attacks.

  "I thought the front three did a tremendous job, a really disciplined job.
They picked the right moments to go and press, that set the foundation for
the players behind them," Carrick said.

  While United sat far too deep for long periods, their strategy almost paid
off after Jorginho's poor control on the halfway line allowed Sancho to run
clear to open the scoring in the 50th minute.

  Jorginho made amends for his blunder when he converted Chelsea's equaliser
from the penalty spot after Aaron Wan-Bissaka fouled Thiago Silva in the 69th

  "We came here with a plan, and we kind of knew how Chelsea would play,"
Carrick said.

  "So that plan was all about stopping the little passes threaded through to
Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the middle of the pitch. We were conscious
of that.

  "It's just what we decided to go with today and we nearly pulled it off."

  When Rangnick does finally take charge, he will have to solve the Ronaldo
dilemma after the Portugal striker stormed straight down the tunnel at full-

  Carrick insisted Ronaldo had no complaints about only coming on for the
final 27 minutes.

  But the superstar, who has scored 10 times since signing from Juventus in
August, has never taken kindly to being denied the spotlight.

  How he fits into Rangnick's desire for a high-tempo philosophy remains to
be seen.

  At least Sancho is finding his feet with goals in successive games after
failing to score in his first 14 appearances following his move from Borussia

  "It's part of football. You have got to do both sides of the game. We have
talked about you have to earn your own luck," Carrick said of Sancho.

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