Paul Ince has denied Manchester United are making progress under interim manager Ralf Rangnick after noticing a key similarity between his reign so far and that of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Rangnick suffered his first defeat as Man Utd interim boss on Monday evening. They lost 1-0 to Wolves due to a goal from Joao Moutinho. It means United are still yet to win back-to-back games with Rangnick on the touchline.
The German was brought in to change things up after similar inconsistency under predecessor Solskjaer. Although only in charge until the end of the season, some initially predicted Rangnick could take the reins full time.
But there is a long way to go until such a decision would be made. And regardless of Rangnick’s future (he will become a consultant to the club after his interim spell), there are questions of the direction in which United are heading.
Their former midfielder Ince was asked by Sky Sports during their coverage of the game if United were making progress under Rangnick. He replied: “If I’m being totally honest, then no.
“It reminds me of when Ole first took over at Manchester United and he had an easy fixture list – Cardiff, teams like that – and it came off the back of a (Jose) Mourinho team where the players didn’t really like Mourinho and the atmosphere was hostile.
“Ole came in, had a great fixture list to go into, changed the system, changed certain things, made it a happy camp and they started winning games.
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“I think we all got hoodwinked into the fact that this was the way forward and we were making progression. I get that same feeling now.
Ince labels United performances average
“The fixture list that Ralf has come into is the perfect fixture list for any manager managing a big club like Manchester United. The performances have been absolutely – apart from the Palace one at home – they’ve been bang average, they really, really have.
“If you could ask any Manchester United fan sitting there now who knows about football, do you see a progression in the development of what we have seen over the last five games? You actually have to say no.
“Do you see Ralf being the manager come the end of the season? The answer on the basis at this moment – and it is early doors – you’ve got to say no.
“I’m not sure if this job is a poisoned chalice. It’s the biggest job in the world, the biggest club in the world, but it’s like a poisoned chalice.”
Rangnick reacts to Man Utd defeat
Rangnick had no complaints about the 1-0 loss to Wolves and also explained his reasoning behind taking off Mason Greenwood, a move that left the Old Trafford faithful fuming.
Speaking to Sky Sports afterward, Rangnick said: “We didn’t play well at all individually or collectively. In the first half, we had big problems to keep them away from our goal.
“In the second half we changed to a back three and had more control then a spell of 15 minutes where we could have scored. The goal we conceded, we had enough players in the box. The cross had been defended by [Phil] Jones but the goal we conceded was like too many this season.
“Moutinho could shoot unmarked with no problems, no pressure. We’re very disappointed about the result and parts of our performance.
“They’re playing with four or five central midfielders and we had problems to control that part of the pitch. We decided to change our formation and we had more control – they didn’t have as many chances – but we missed our chances and we have to admit they deserved to win.
“Wolves were the best team we’ve played. We have more problems today than in other games.
“We didn’t press at all – we tried but we were not able to get into those pressing situations. They had an overload in midfield and they played via their wing-backs.
“We’ve been only working two and a half or three weeks after needing to close the training centre. We had the results. In times we played well but today we have to admit they’re better than us.”