Manchester United's players looked beaten before a ball was even kicked
Body language. This is the issue highlighted with Manchester United’s players first by Ralf Rangnick after the Norwich win and by pundits after poor displays against Newcastle and Wolves.
You need only look at the players’ body language before the Wolves game to see all is not right with the Manchester United squad.
As this revealing picture below shows, United’s players looked defeated coming out of the tunnel for kick-off, before a ball was even kicked.
With the exception of a pumped up Phil Jones, the players looked miserable, shoulders slumped and looking at the floor.
It really was not much of a surprise, in hindsight, to see the team turn in such a lethargic and disjointed performance.
This is 2022, and of course these small issues get blown up and magnified. But this appears to be a persistent and recurring theme of United’s performances of late.
Luke Shaw’s post-match comments emphasised the problems within the United squad.
Shaw told Sky Sports: “Maybe tonight we struggled. I didn’t feel when I was on the pitch that we were all there together. I think we felt like we were struggling and it was tough.”
Good attitude over talent required
We know United’s players are talented. At various points we have seen them produce their best, albeit irregularly, and that is the problem.
Manager Ralf Rangnick needs to find a combination of players who have the right mindset, and will play together as a team and not individiuals.
Last night there was too much individuality on display, with players not passing the ball to teammates in better situations and wasting possession. While positive to see they wanted to take responsibility, it was not the display of a cohesive team.
The side’s beaten attitude was odd, coming so soon after a strong performance against Burnley. It suggests they are either not getting on with each other, or are not buying into manager Ralf Rangnick’s system.
The latter is quite possible, with Rangnick changing formation from game to game, and his tactics were outfoxed by opposition manager Bruno Lage.
United need a solution, soon, because supporters cannot stomach seeing more displays like we were served up last night.
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