Interim manager Ralf Rangnick gives insight as to how Manchester United can stop Manchester City ahead of the derby
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Manchester derby on Sunday (h/t Manchester Evening News), Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick previewed his opponents and talked about his possible game plan.
The Etihad Stadium plays host to the second derby of the season, with Manchester City winning the previous game 2-0 at Old Trafford as United were outplayed and did not stand a chance against their rivals. This time, however, the Red Devils have a different manager in charge in Rangnick and will hope that the result is much different than what happened last time.
The German boss said that his players will need to force some pressure onto City and overload spaces in a bid to gain control over the match. The fact that City have the home advantage will make this task harder.
“In the end, it is about controlling the game, not letting them play without pressure, because this is what they want, overloading spaces. The goalkeeper almost plays as a centre-back and the full-back a No.6 midfielder.”
This will be Rangnick’s first time experiencing the Manchester derby, and fans will hope that the ex-Leipzig manager has a few tricks up his sleeve to get a favourable result against the defending champions of the Premier League.
The Red Devils will hope to shake off their previous 0-0 draw against Watford and bounce back against City on Sunday. The players will be well-rested against their noisy neighbours, with a full week separating the games between the Hornets and the Cityzens.
Rangnick gave a little insight as to how he would shape up against Sunday’s opponents, possibly suggesting a defensive approach as he talked about finding moments to steal the ball away from City players and making the most of transitions.
“For us, it is about finding moments where we can take the ball away from them and make the best of those transitional moments. It is up to us on Sunday to show that we can do that.”
United have won in their previous three trips to the Etihad Stadium, so there is pressure on Rangnick to keep up this excellent away record against their city rivals. Having lost the last derby at home, there is redemption to be sought on Sunday.
Since Rangnick has taken charge of the club, the side have only lost once in the Premier League. This augurs well for the Old Trafford side, as they look to get a win against City to continue their push for a top-four spot in the league table by the end of the season.
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The German boss will be aware of United’s recent troubles finding the back of the net, which could explain why he was talking about setting up against their opponents on the counter-attack, specifying the game plan about making the most of transitional plays.
If so, then we should expect a similar game plan as to what we saw against Atletico Madrid last month in the Champions League. Although we were poor in the game, we made the most of our counter-attack and managed to score against Atletico courtesy of young Anthony Elanga- who could play a part in the derby as well. Hopefully, Sunday sees us play much better than how we performed in Madrid.