Manchester United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick will be aiming to secure his second consecutive victory when BSC Young Boys visit Old Trafford in their Champions League encounter this evening.
The German tactician’s reign got off to a perfect start over the weekend when he guided the Red Devils to a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
But it wasn’t just the result that would have pleased Rangnick. United recorded their first clean sheet on home territory in the Premier League since March on Sunday, having previously kept just three clean sheets in the current campaign.
Rangnick didn’t just manage to shut up shop by adopting a defensive, backs-to-the-wall approach, though.
United won back possession of the ball 12 times in the final third of the pitch, a record number for the 20-time English champions since Opta began recording such data.
“Possession won in the final third was a massive one,” said Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville in his analysis. “What they did is they sustained attacks, and they stopped teams cutting through them, and they stopped counter-attacks. They won the ball back quicker.
“Everyone assumed it would be Jurgen Klopp-style heavy-metal football. They did not run more but what they did do was work smarter.”
And now Rangnick must give other players an opportunity to impress in his new-look set up for the visit of Young Boys, unleashing the likes of Mason Greenwood into the starting XI.
The 63-year-old already revealed in his pre-match press conference that fringe players Dean Henderson and Donny van de Beek will be afforded rare opportunities to impress from the off, with United already assured of their place in the last-16.
Therefore, Greenwood should also be brought back into the fold. After suffering from the ongoing pandemic last month, the versatile forward has failed to start a game in all competitions since 6 November and is currently enduring a five-game goal drought.
“The kid is on fire,” said David de Gea after he well-taken finish at Wolves. “Top finisher, he is clinical, he has the goal in his mind all the time, so he’s being very important for us at the moment.
“Hopefully he can keep the level up and keep scoring goals like he did today.”
Unfortunately for Greenwood and United, the youngster hasn’t been able to maintain that form as De Gea had hoped, but today’s clash could be the perfect opportunity for him to get back on track.
After all, he has the potential to be better than a host of club legends according to pundit Jason Cundy who once said: “Every game I see, he gets better and better and better.
“He is better than Marcus Rashford, he will be better than David Beckham, he will be better than Ryan Giggs.”
The youngster’s deadly combination of intelligent movement, natural pace and unerring finishing always has the ability to change any game, and if he puts in an impressive display, it could alter the course of his season under Rangnick.