Rangnick has vowed to improve United's players and he is making a start
One of the common complaints from fans towards the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s spell as manager was about the coaching.
Fair or not, there was a perception that the players were not being coached well enough, and were struggling to develop into better players.
New boss Ralf Rangnick has come in, and despite hopes otherwise, he has not been given any money to put towards spending on improving the squad.
Instead the improvements Rangnick is looking to make are coming on the training ground. He is working to improve this squad of players and bringing the best out of them.
Rangnick underlined his approach with his comments on breakout star Anthony Elanga, who scored in the 3-1 victory over Brentford.
Rangnick told BBC Sport: “He [Elanga] was almost on his way out on loan, I told him you will not go out on loan, you will stay here. He has developed in training.”
Elanga is becoming the poster boy for Rangnick’s approach, but he is not the sole beneficiary.
Fred has been vital to United’s success under Rangnick. He has now provided three assists in his last three games, and the tactical adjustment to get him higher up the pitch is working.
Diogo Dalot is benefitting from an increased role at right-back too, while Scott McTominay is also showing signs of improvement.
Rangnick has only been in charge a month and a half, and a week of that was lost as the training ground was shut.
In some ways it makes sense to go with the approach United are taking. Instead of trying to spend the way out of trouble, like the club frequently have tried to do in the past, Rangnick’s brief is to coach the team up and make them better.
As a first step, this does make sense. United will still clearly need to buy players in the summer, to improve the midfield and to replace departing stars.
But the first port of call is to maximise what United already have, across the whole squad, and looking to the academy for potential solutions.
Diogo Dalot’s post-game comments showed how Rangnick’s half-time approach called for the players to be sharper and quicker.
Dalot told the club website: “We had a game plan that we needed to stick to, be a little bit more aggressive to get to second balls, a bit more intensity on the counterattack, clinical in the last third and serve the players up front to score goals and that’s what we did.”
He added: “We need to improve on a lot of things as well, but we’re going to do that. We’re going to get there.”
Rangnick is on his way to delivering improvements fans wanted to see. There may be missteps along the way, and when David de Gea has to bail the teams out at times, it underlines how fine a line United tread.
There is going to be a limit to what Rangnick can do. United’s weak midfield is well documented, and its still possible there is a late addition to the squad this month.
But if no new faces arrive until the summer, Rangnick will make the best of what he has, and the early signs suggest there is enough reason to be hopeful the season may turn out to have a positive ending.
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