Ralf Rangnick admitted Manchester United were “lucky” against Norwich, and picked out two tactics opponents could employ that would give his side issues.
Manchester United made it two league wins from two under Rangnick after edging past Norwich at Carrow Road. The first half brought little in the way of goalmouth action. The closest United came was via a deflected Alex Telles free-kick that rattled the crossbar.
The second half proved easier on the eye, and United took the lead through their talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Matching Mohamed Salah’s contribution earlier in the day, Ronaldo both won and converted a match-deciding penalty to hand his side all three points.
Three could’ve easily been one if not for the heroics of David de Gea, however. The Spaniard produced a vintage display that included two superb stops from ex-Liverpool defender, Ozan Kabak.
Speaking to the BBC after the match Rangnick said: “It was a very intense game, very physical. They played well, they didn’t play like a bottom team. We had some problems in the first 15 minutes.
“From the start we controlled the game but didn’t always have the best possible solutions. Defensively we did well, tactically in the first half we didn’t allow them to have too many shots or chances.
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“At half-time I told the boys we needed to increase the speed and intensity of the game. The second half was a little bit better but at the end we were lucky to have a clean sheet and there were two or three [big saves] by David de Gea.
“It’s another clean sheet but still a lot of work to do.”
Physical and pressing teams still an issue – Rangnick
Norwich looked most dangerous when pressuring United high up the pitch. Opponents that utilise that tactic – such as Manchester City and Liverpool – have already shown they can punish United this season under former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Rangnick insisted there is plenty of work to do to ensure his side are no longer vulnerable against high pressing and physical teams.
The German said: “The second half I was not at all happy with the amount of corners that we gave away, but we got the three points.
“We have conceded the highest amount of goals in the top ten. Now we have two clean sheets which is good but we still need to improve on that away, especially against physical teams or teams that attack high like Norwich did.
“It’s also a question of body language and physicality and this was one of the major issues that we could have done better.”
Man Utd did what “top teams” do – Maguire
Man United captain Harry Maguire also spoke to the press, telling Sky Sports: “It was a tough game. We didn’t play as well as we’d like to play, sometimes you need to dig in and keep a clean sheet.
“When you’re playing every week, some performances aren’t going to be at the highest level. We want to reach a level where every performance is high intensity. For sure we need to play better than that if we want to achieve what we want to achieve.
“The most important thing was the three points. It was tough conditions, they put us under pressure they were aggressive. If we keep a clean sheet, you’ve got a great chance of winning.
“In the last 10 or 15 minutes we didn’t look after the ball well enough. You see the top teams do it – they don’t play well every week but they still get the result.
“We’ve been very disappointed with our defensive record this year, we know we need to do better. David de Gea did great today.”