Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick has made an ‘instant impression’ at Old Trafford, says club legend Sammy McIlroy.
Rangnick led United to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday, and although the margin of victory was narrow, many were impressed with the home side’s start. McIlroy is included in that number – and believes it is a hugely encouraging sign that the German was able to inspire such a change with just one training session.
“You can’t usually ask for anything more than starting with a win,” McIlroy told TalkOfTheDevils exclusively. “But there were signs that in such a short space of time that he’s had with the players that he’s actually tried to do something different and has left an instant impression with the pressing game. It stood out instantly.”
“For the first time in a long time there seems to be a strong pattern and shape and an emphasis on trying to recover the ball when it was lost.”
“It’s very impressive for just one day’s training. And I admit to being quite surprised by it. To get that sort of a response was eye-opening. The players seemed to take it straight away. The forward and midfield players showed a much higher tempo even without the ball.”
McIlroy says that even though the opposition was ‘only’ Crystal Palace, beating Patrick Vieira’s side was not something United could take for granted. “Palace are no mugs,” he says. “They’ve done well this season and they beat City away from home. Everyone knows they’ve been in a game against them.”
Rangnick today added two new key staff to his backroom – sports psychologist Sascha Lense, and Chris Armas, who will arrive as the new assistant after coaching in North America. McIlroy has backed the appointment, praising Armas in particular, and feels that making these changes so early on can only have a positive impact.
“I think it’s an excellent move,” he says. “Hopefully those coaches will come in and help this positive start even more.”