Manchester United legend Sammy McIlroy believes the club’s recent coronavirus outbreak may yet prove to be a ‘blessing in disguise’ in that it has presented new manager Ralf Rangnick with some extra time to work with his players.
Rangnick is known to favour a high-intensity game and other than the first thirty minutes against Crystal Palace, United have looked leggy, and then fell victim to an outbreak which caused postponements to Premier League games against Brentford and Brighton.
United’s players have returned in smaller groups as they prepare to face Newcastle after Christmas – and McIlroy believes recent events could work in their favour.
“Nobody can say it’s a positive thing that so many people have fallen ill,” said McIlroy, exclusively to TalkOfTheDevils. “But you have to try and take positives where you can find them and in United’s case they have a new manager who has now had the unexpected period of some extra time to evaluate what he has. He’s also had the unpredictable element of players returning to training in smaller groups and this will hopefully have given Ralf the chance to work with players more closely to explain what exactly it is that he wants from them.”
“He probably wouldn’t have expected the opportunity to work even on a one-to-one basis with players and have all this time to express the complexities of his gameplan. It could be a blessing in disguise.”
“Missing games can be a bonus or a setback. In this league, teams have been taking points off each other around United’s position, so you would hope this puts us in a strong position when we’re back playing.”
McIlroy also says he doesn’t expect the club to make any signings in January – but believes that Rangnick will take the opportunity to offload some players who are not playing often.
“He looks like the type of manager who will prioritise working with what he has and improving our current position rather than throwing millions at it, especially when he might not even be the manager at the end of the season… having said that, I do expect some players to leave, and I would certainly say there’d be outgoing players than incoming ones in January.”