EPL

'Everybody loves Fred, he's a sunshine' – Rangnick salutes United goal hero

By Sports Desk December 05, 2021

Ralf Rangnick hailed Fred as a ray of sunshine after a fine strike from Manchester United's much-maligned midfielder gave the interim boss a winning start.

A 77th-minute strike from United's Brazil international clinched a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace as Rangnick took charge from the dugout for the first time.

The former Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig boss watched from the stand when United beat Arsenal 3-2 on Thursday, and it was a first day in the frontline for the German on Sunday.

Among a plethora of likely match-winners, Fred was way down the list, but it was his stylish strike, with his unfavoured right foot, that saw off Patrick Vieira's Eagles.

Fred's deep-lying midfield role has been frequently cited by United observers as a weak point in their team, but on this occasion he was a hero. He has scored twice in 12 Premier League matches this season, as many as he managed in 76 appearances across his first three campaigns in the competition.

Rangnick said: "I think everybody loves Fred. You have to love Fred. I've got to know him for only two days now but he's a sunshine."

A United training session on Saturday had to be brief due to grotty Manchester weather, reducing Rangnick's already limited opportunity to work on the pitch with his new players.

The 63-year-old still managed to piece together a tactical plan that just about paid off, with United pressing heavily at times and showing a subtle change in shape, Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes given fresh instructions.

Rangnick made the point in his Friday news conference that a priority would be to keep the opposition away from United's penalty area, and he felt his players came good on following that instruction.

The outcome means United have lost just two of their 25 Premier League matches against Palace (W18 D5), keeping a clean sheet in their last two league games against the Eagles.

In an interview on United's official website, Rangnick said: "Obviously it was about keeping them away from our goal, keeping them consistently under pressure and chasing balls and winning balls.

"We decided to go for a slightly different formation but only slightly different. We played with two strikers, Marcus and Cristiano up front with Jadon and Bruno on the 10 position and for the rest of the team it was the same position as usual. I just thought it might be better to have control in the centre of the pitch with Cristiano having a partner up front and I think it worked out well."

United nudged up to sixth place in the Premier League and have taken seven points from three games since being thrashed 4-1 at Watford, the result from which there was no coming back for former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Rangnick added: "In quite a few games I saw on TV and also against Arsenal, we were a bit shaky in certain times of the game but today we had the feeling that we controlled the game."

Related items

  • 'I feel 100 per cent Roma' - Mourinho basks in Roma's Conference League final triumph 'I feel 100 per cent Roma' - Mourinho basks in Roma's Conference League final triumph

    Jose Mourinho has declared he is "100 per cent Roma" after their 1-0 Europa Conference League final triumph over Feyenoord on Wednesday.

    Playing in their first continental showpiece since losing the 1984 European Cup final to Liverpool, Nicolo Zaniolo scored the only goal for the Giallorossi, poking the ball home in the 32nd minute after chesting down Gianluca Mancini's ball over the top of the defence.

    The victory in Tirana gave the Serie A club their first major European trophy.

    In his first season at Roma, Mourinho has now emulated Giovanni Trapattoni's feat of winning a European trophy in three separate decades.

    Despite famously leaving in the following off-season after winning the Champions League with Porto and Inter, the 59-year-old asserted he wants to stay and build on this success in the Italian capital.

    "I remain, even if some voice or offer arrives," Mourinho said. "I want to stay in Rome and we need to understand what our owners want to do in the next season because we can follow up on this story, we must define the direction for the next season.

    "I feel like a Roma player, like I feel like an Inter fan, a Chelsista, I'm crazy about Real Madrid, but for all due respect for the clubs I have worked for, I feel 100 per cent Roma.

    "The beautiful thing about my career beyond winning with Manchester United, winning with Porto, Inter and now with Roma is something special. Winning when everyone expects it is easy, while it is special to win when you do something truly historic. I hope the fans wait for us and celebrate with us all."

    In distinct Mourinho fashion, the Giallorossi were able to absorb pressure once they took the lead, only holding 33 per cent of possession over the 90 minutes.

    Feyenoord could do very little in breaking Roma down, generating only three shots from open play in the penalty area in the match, despite how much of the ball they had.

    For Mourinho and Roma, the Conference League had become a priority and he was pleased this trophy had not c1ome at the expense of domestic ambitions.

    "There are so many things going on in my head right now," he said. "I have been in Rome for 11 months and I immediately understood where I was.

    "As I told the boys, in Turin in the locker room, we did what we had to do, our job. But today it wasn't work, it was history and we wrote history. The Conference League is a competition that we thought we could win from the start, slowly becoming stronger and stronger and we met stronger and stronger teams.

    "But we were aiming for it and sacrificed a few points in the league without losing qualification for the Europa League."

  • Mane to reveal Liverpool future after Champions League final amid Real Madrid and Bayern talk Mane to reveal Liverpool future after Champions League final amid Real Madrid and Bayern talk

    Sadio Mane cast doubt on his Liverpool future by saying he will reveal whether he is staying at the club after the Champions League final. 

    Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have been heavily linked with a move for Mane, who has one year remaining on his contract at Anfield. 

    After missing out on Premier League glory at the weekend, the Senegal international hopes to help Liverpool lift the trophy in Europe's leading club competition for the seventh time. 

    They will need to overcome Madrid at the Stade de France – a repeat of the 2018 final that was won by LaLiga's champions – for their third piece of silverware this season. 

    Madrid's interest in Mane has reportedly stepped up after they missed out on Kylian Mbappe, and the 30-year-old intends to provide clarity on his future after the final. 

    "I will answer after the Champions League. Whether I'm staying or not, I'm going to answer after the Champions League," he told Sky Sports. 

    Mohamed Salah, whose Liverpool deal is also set to expire in June next year, confirmed on Wednesday that he will still be at the club next season. 

    The Egyptian winger said the Reds want revenge over Madrid following the result in the 2018 Champions League final in Kyiv, but Mane does not feel the same way. 

    "I think Mo is just Mo," he said with a smile. "For sure it's not a revenge. In four years a lot of things have changed, we have more experience and quality in the team. 

    "I think we've all forgotten about what happened in 2018. For sure, Real Madrid were the better team and deserved to win the final, but it's going to be a different game." 

    Mane added: "For me, relaxed, no pressure, nothing at all – just enjoy it. I think it's a dream moment for us, so let's enjoy it without putting pressure on ourselves. 

    "Everybody is smiling and confident, which is amazing. We know it won't be an easy game against one of the best in the world, but that will make the game special." 

  • Anderlecht part Kompany with head coach as Man City great reportedly agrees Burnley move Anderlecht part Kompany with head coach as Man City great reportedly agrees Burnley move

    Manchester City great Vincent Kompany has left his post as Anderlecht head coach amid reports linking him with the vacant manager's position at Burnley.

    Kompany returned to Anderlecht – whose academy he was a graduate of – in 2019 in a player-manager capacity as the club looked to rebuild, though he soon switched focus to playing duties.

    A year later, in August 2020, he was appointed as the club's head coach after bringing his playing days to a close.

    Anderlecht could only finish as high as fourth in the 2020-21 Belgian Pro League season, before ending the 2021-22 campaign third.

    Although Kompany signed a four-year deal in 2020, he leaves the club having failed to win Anderlecht a first league title since 2016-17, with Club Brugge winning four out of a possible five.

    Anderlecht insisted Kompany's departure was a "mutual" decision.

    A statement read: "The club and the coach have analysed the past season and discussed the plans for the future. The two parties have decided to part ways in mutual consent. This decision was taken with a lot of mutual respect and gratitude for everything that has been achieved together.

    "The club wishes Vincent Kompany all the best in his further career as a coach. He was, is and will remain an icon of the club and will always find a home at Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht."

    Kompany added: "Today only one feeling prevails: I am proud that I was able to start this new chapter at the club of my heart.

    "I have now been a player and a coach of RSC Anderlecht, but above all I remain a loyal fan."

    Widespread reports earlier on Wednesday suggested Kompany has already secured his next job, with a move back to English football seemingly on the cards.

    Burnley brought Sean Dyche's 10-year tenure to an end in April as they looked to stave off relegation from the Premier League.

    Caretaker manager Mike Jackson initially inspired an improvement, but it was not enough as they ultimately dropped back to the second tier for the first time since 2015-16.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.