Rangnick immediate impact on Harry Maguire finally revealed

Ralf Rangnick began his Manchester United tenure on a good note, with just few days at the club, yet his finger prints were all over the Red Devil’s 1-0 home victory against Crystal Palace.

Despite the slender margin of victory, Patrick Vieira’s side struggled to cope with United’s aggressive intensity and assertive pressing.

United regained possession in the Eagles’ third of the pitch a staggering 12 times – the most they have achieved since Sir Alex Ferguson was in the dugout.

Obviously, this is the kind of dynamism and speed that has been absent, not just in the final weeks of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ’s reign, but during the eight years since the legendary Scotsman’s retirement.

And one star who appeared to thrive in this new look United side was none other than the regularly derided Harry Maguire.

Very few players received more criticism and scrutiny than the United captain.

His confidence appeared to be shot, and with a very passive and flaky midfield in front of him, Maguire would drop deeper and deeper.

However, his first match under Rangnick was assured, confident, and as forward thinking as a central defender with his price tag should be.

Rather than gravitating towards his own goal-line, Maguire was demanding his backline to step up the pitch and squeeze a Palace attack who appeared devoid of ideas.

United’s defence has been anything but secure over the last six months and Maguire has unfortunately found himself at the heart of their issues.

The victory against Palace was astoundingly the Red Devil’s first clean sheet at Old Trafford in 234 days.

However, Maguire’s qualities were not just limited to his defensive work alone.

He was more composed, industrious, and accurate in his distribution and passing.

Maguire played 15 successful passes into the final third of the pitch against Palace – only Paul Pogba has completed more in a single league game this season and that came all the way back in September during their 4-1 home victory over Newcastle United.

All things considered, Rangnick had plenty of reasons to be pleased about his new team’s performance, but he took most satisfaction from their defensive solidity.

“I’m very happy with the way the team performed, the way they played – especially the first half-hour, that was exceptional,” a satisfied Rangnick said after the game.

“I said in my first press conference, there are things we need to improve on, to get clean sheets, to get control of the game. “What they [my players] showed was more than I expected, to be honest.

“I was positively surprised by the physical state and intensity, the first half-hour was amazing, I felt it was extremely high-tempo, high intensity, always on the front foot.”

Rangnick will be back in the Old Trafford dugout on Wednesday night, when the Red Devils take on Young Boys in the Champions League.

A draw against the Swiss side will be enough to secure top spot in Group F for United, but the German will be demanding all three points, to ensure his Gegenpressing Reds’ momentum does not dissipate.

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