Later News Dec 06

Rangnick praises McFred midfield performance in Manchester United’s win over Crystal Palace

It has taken just one game, but new Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick has already transformed the dreaded ‘McFred’ midfield into a semblance of a functional partnership – thus definitively proving that Christmas miracles do occur.


Indeed, it was one half of the Scott McTominay-Fred duo that scored the winner for the Red Devils in their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last evening (SGT), with the latter’s long-range strike in the 77th minute proving to be the decider in a tight contest.


So unlikely a matchwinner was Fred – who resembled a poor man’s version of Kleberson under former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – that even Rangnick himself did not initially believe the Brazilian had scored.


“I had to ask my assistant coach if that was Fred's right foot, I could not believe it," Rangnick said. “I thought he could only shoot with his left.”


WATCH: Rangnick impressed with McFred midfield


The German coach went on to praise the McFred midfield pairing, and credited the duo for allowing United to play an “aggressive” style of football.


“He (Fred) is a wonderful boy. This is one thing I can say even after two days. I’ve heard a lot about him from Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer), right now only I can only say it’s great to have a boy like him in the team,” Rangnick gushed.


“It’s the same with all the other players. Scott McTominay is the same. With those two number sixes we were able to play aggressive football against the ball.”


Having probably been warned that he would be in charge of a bunch of ne'er do wells before he took on the United job, Rangnick admitted he was pleasantly surprised to see that his charges were not quite as bad as what Solskjaer were making them out to be.


WATCH: Rangnick's first press conference as United manager


“To be honest, I was positively surprised by the physical state, intensity and performance of the players,” said Rangnick.


“Not only did we play in the late kick-off midweek, but we also had two days fewer than Crystal Palace to recover. I didn't expect us to play at that level after only one-and-a-half training days together with them.


“It's always easier to build on things when you're successful. I want the players to believe in this kind of football. We continue in this direction, produce further clean sheets, and get better at creating chances ourselves. There is still space for improvement but today was more important for me to see how they played against the ball.”


In the other Premier League matches that were played yesterday, Tottenham Hotspur overcame relegation-threatened Norwich City 3-0, Leeds United played out a 2-2 draw with Brentford, while Steven Gerrard got his third win in four games as Aston Villa boss with a 2-1 win over Leicester City.


WATCH: Antonio Conte reflects on Spurs' win over Norwich




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