Rangnick explains decision to start Lingard vs Norwich

Jesse Lingard has been handed a shock start for Manchester United’s clash with Norwich at Old Trafford this afternoon.

Ralf Rangnick’s response to lacking his two normal holding midfielders in Fred and Scott McTominay has been to play without one.

Nemanja Matic might have expected to come in but it seems Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes will play deeper than usual, with Lingard in the centre of the pitch too.

Speaking to MUTV ahead of the game, Rangnick explained his selection decision, which has come as something of a surprise given Lingard’s contract situation.

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“We want to score goals and create big chances, that’s why I decided to go with Paul, Bruno and Jesse,” he said.

“To have enough creativity on the pitch to score goals and create moments in order to score, but it’s also important to have the right balance defensively.

“Against Everton, Leicester and Atletico, we did not create many chances and today, in our own house with this lineup, hopefully that can change.”

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Lingard’s Manchester derby outing left plenty to be desired and it looks for all the world that he will be leaving the club at the end of the season.

That makes this a bold move by Rangnick, as does the decision to go in without a recognised ball winning midfielder for this game.

The German will likely hope that United can dominate the ball, but they still need to do their work when Norwich have it and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.