Wolverhampton Wanderers visited Old Trafford on Monday, January 3, and were able to run away with a famous 1-0 win, thanks to the 4-2-2-2 formation of coach Ralf Rangnick which has proven ineffective at Manchester United.
Recall that when Manchester United announced the appointment of Ralf Rangnick in November, most fans of the club looked forward to his Gegenpressing football tactic which was designed to unsettle opponents and then hit them on the counter-attack, while they are vulnerable.
However, for over a month, the football style has proven not to be effective at Manchester United even though the football tactic has won the club three Premier League games.
On Monday, Wolves proved to coach Ralf Rangnick that the football tactic is not for the current crop of players at Manchester United as the visitors unsettled the host.
The game became so frustrating for Manchester United that coach Ralf Rangnick had to switch from his 4-2-2-2 to 4-4-2 during the game which helped the team to be a bit coordinated especially in the second half.
Despite that, Manchester United could not break Wolves’ defense. The club’s talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo who served as the captain of the side during the game, could not do much.
When the spectators at Old Trafford thought the game would at least end in a 0-0 draw, Wolves’ Joao Moutinho broke the hearts of the spectators in the 82nd minute to give the visitors their first win at the stadium since February 1980.
The 1-0 defeat has left Manchester United in the 7th spot with 31 points in 19 games, four points away from 4th placed Arsenal, and 22 points away from first-placed Manchester City.
Since Ralf Rangnick took over from sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjær and caretaker coach Michael Carrick, he has not recorded any defeat until the Monday game. The worst he has recorded before Wolves visited Old Trafford was a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on December 27.
After the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Wolves, coach Ralf Rangnick admitted that Manchester United did not play well, adding that his team had problems keeping Wolves away from his team’s eighteen-yard box.
The German tactician said: “We didn’t play well at all, neither individually nor collectively. In the first half, we had big problems keeping them away from our box and our goals.
“In the second half, we changed to a different formation with a back three. We had more control and there were 15 minutes where we could have scored, we hit the crossbar.
“The goal we conceded was one of too many this season where Moutinho could shoot completely unmarked, with no problems or pressure at all. Therefore, we are very disappointed about the result, but also about parts of our performance.
“They were playing with almost four or five central midfielders and we had problems controlling that part of the pitch. Whenever they tried to release one of their wing-backs, we were also struggling.
“That’s why we decided to change our formation. We had more control in the second half, they didn’t have that many chances as they did in the first half. But we missed our chances to score and we have to admit that they deserved to win.
“Wolves were the best team we have played, collectively and individually, and we had more problems today than in other games.
“We didn’t press at all. We tried after 10 or 15 minutes, but we were not able to get into those pressing situations because Wolves did that well. They had an overload in the center of midfield and whenever we were trying to tackle them in those areas, they played via their wing-backs.
“So far, we had the results and at times played well, but today we have to admit they were better than us.
“I don’t want to speak about the individual performances of players. This is an issue for the whole team. We can only improve the team if we get better collectively.”
🗣️ — Ralf Rangnick on the lack of high pressing:— United Journal (@theutdjournal) January 4, 2022
“We played a better team today. You have to have the mentality and the physicality. All the players need to be ready to sprint and attack the ball. Otherwise it is difficult.” #mufc #mujournal