Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has conducted his pre-match press conference ahead of the FA Cup third round clash with Aston Villa.

Rangnick faced reporters at the briefing, which was streamed at 2pm on United’s official app and he was asked about the performance in the 1-0 defeat against Wolves last time out.

The German said it was only David de Gea who kept United in the game in the first half, before some marginal improvement after the interval.

It remains to be seen whether de Gea plays against Villa, with Dean Henderson potentially in for a rare start if his attitude is right.

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“We have made some progress but obviously the game against Wolves was a step back,” said Rangnick. “Maybe even a relapse to habits the team has shown in the past.

“We need to emphasise and insist every time that we work together that we can only get better in possession, and the two transitional moments.

“We have to do it with emotion and passion and intensity. This was the problem against Wolves in the first half when we were escorting them (towards goal).

“If we look at it, it was only David de Gea, who was resisting them going to our goal. David was the one who kept us in the game in the first half. In the second half it was better when we changed formation to a back three but it’s about finding a sustainable balance in the future.”

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De Gea made a fine save from Ruben Neves in the first half. That was the outstanding contribution he made during a 45 minutes when United were not at the races at all.

That said, he was asked to perform less heroics than he has been at various other times this season, even in games United have gone on to draw or win.

It remains to be seen whether the Spaniard has earned a night off against Villa or whether Rangnick goes with as close to his strongest team as possible as United kick off their campaign in a competition which represents their most realistic chance of silverware this season.

Henderson has started just twice this term; in the 1-0 home loss to West Ham in the EFL Cup in September and the 1-1 Champions League draw against Young Boys last month, performing well on both occasions despite the results.

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