Manchester United made no signings in the January transfer window and with a top-four race, FA Cup challenge and qualifying for the Champions League round of 16, Ralf Rangnick must look to his weakened squad to deliver success in the latter stages of the season.
The side currently sits fourth in the table during the winter break, with a game in hand over West Ham United who trail behind by just one point in fifth, so it is really important for the Red Devils boss to capitalise on the opportunity to break away from their competition by securing a run of winning form.
When it comes to form, there are certain players who have been unable to deliver on the expectations that were made of them when they joined the side in the summer, with Jadon Sancho a prime example.
The 21-year-old has been unable to emulate his success at Borussia Dortmund during his time at Old Trafford so far, with just two goals and no assists for the side this season, and when you compare it to his last season in the Bundesliga with 16 goals and 21 assists in 38 appearances, there has been a clear decline in his performances.
One player who has been a huge talking point during the transfer window is Jesse Lingard, who was tipped to go to Newcastle United or West Ham several times over the last month, but it was reported that the board blocked the move, and now the 29-year-old who was hailed “unique” by Manchester United legend, Michael Carrick, will see out the last five months of his contract at his boyhood club.
With that being said, it could be the perfect opportunity to unleash Lingard back in the team to assist with the top four race and multiple competitions still in sight for the club, especially when his attacking output is better than Sancho this season with two goals and one assist in just 273 minutes of game time, which is almost 1000 minutes less than Sancho so far.
We also saw the impact that the £80k-per-week maestro had on West Ham during his loan stint, helping the Hammers secure a place in Europa League football with nine goals and five assists in just 16 appearances in the final months of last season, and this consistent attacking output is something that Rangnick desperately needs to ensure he can end the season on a high for the club during his first eight months in charge as interim.
Manchester United will take on Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Friday evening, and it could be the perfect opportunity for the German coach to give Lingard the chance to shine and play a pivotal role in ensuring that the side can move into the next round with ease, giving the club a chance to pick up their first silverware in almost five years.
In other news: Rangnick must sign Antonio Rudiger