Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick claims making early substitutions would have sent the wrong signal in the 2-2 draw against Aston Villa
Speaking after the game, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News, Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick claimed it would have sent the wrong signal to make early substitutions in the 2-2 draw against Aston Villa.
The Red Devils had to share the spoils on Saturday night as Villa fought back to score twice in the last 15 minutes to earn a point. But until the 70th minute, Man United were in the ascendency, following Bruno Fernandes’ second strike on the night.
Rangnick could have changed things at that moment by making changes. Instead, the German gaffer brought on Jadon Sancho after the opponents scored their first goal, before bringing on Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard on the 89th minute.
The 63-year-old claimed after the game that switching to a back three and making substitutions would have sent the wrong signal.
“I mean, obviously after we scored the second goal, I was thinking of a back three. But my worry was that if we did that, we would be pinned back too much. In the end, it still happened. If I could do it again, I would probably change to a different formation, to a back three.
“After being 2-0 up, it might have been a wrong signal to the team to drop too far back. And when we played proactive today, we pressed them, and were able to put them under pressure and had our best moments today.”
This is not the first time Rangnick has failed to change the game off-the-pitch. The draw against Newcastle United and the defeat to Wolves also indicated that the manager lacks the tactical nous to make the substitutions at the right time.
However, this mistake would have hurt the most in the draw against Villa. We were leading in the game and had a 2-goal cushion. It was time to see the game out and take three points back to Old Trafford. But our players, who were tired from the relentless pressing throughout the game, were broken eventually by two goals in quick succession by the home side.
If Van de Beek and Lingard had come on after Fernandes scored the second goal, the midfield would have been solidified, and the frontline would have pressed from the front. But bringing them on in the final minutes of the game was barely ever going to change the tide of the match.
In fact, if anything, Villa created more chances following the introduction of our substitutions. Rangnick is currently facing one of the biggest managerial challenges in his long career, but the German needs to learn from his errors.
Securing a Top 4 spot is a must, and if the gaffer continues to make such poor decisions off the pitch, we do not have a prayer of securing Champions League football next season.
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In the Premier League, it is about getting the result at the end of the day. Parking the bus against a team at their home ground who are on the bounce after signing Lucas Digne and Philippe Coutinho is nothing to be ashamed of. We were solid for most of the game and there was no reason why we shouldn’t have taken a defensive approach to protect our lead.
It was as if Rangnick wanted to make an impression that his team would not play negative football in most circumstances. But even if we are Man United, we should be sensible enough to understand our limitations and what is to be done to win a game.