Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick has heaped praise onto the club’s defenders after some improved performances since Ralf Rangnick replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager.
The German tactician arrived at Old Trafford with a big reputation, and Chadwick has certainly seen plenty to be optimistic about so far, even if he admits we’re not yet seeing much in the way of free-flowing football from his old club.
After a difficult start to the season for Man Utd, which led to previous manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being sacked, Chadwick is pleased to at least see a big improvement in the team’s defensive performances.
Rangnick has won his first two Premier League games in charge of United 1-0 against Crystal Palace and Norwich City, respectively, and even though bigger challenges will lie ahead, Chadwick is pleased to see the back four improving after previously having such a poor record at the back.
“It was a good result against Norwich,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside. “The huge positive is another clean sheet, with some great saves from David de Gea.
“We’re seeing more commitment from the United players, they seemed desperate not to concede a goal. There were bodies on the line, blocking shots and that sort of thing, it seems almost like a different group of players back there considering how easy it’s been to score against United at times this season.
“We had our first clean sheet at Old Trafford for 16 games against Crystal Palace and I can’t remember the last time they kept two clean sheets on the spin, so in that respect it’s looking promising.
“It wasn’t a great performance in possession by any stretch of the imagination, they struggled to play much football. It was all Norwich to begin with, then United got into it a little more, created some half chances, but at the end of the day, where the club’s at, it was a hugely important three points.
“It puts them level with West Ham in the race for that fourth spot which is so imperative for the end of the season if United are going to be able to recruit how you’d expect them to. So, two 1-0 wins, maybe not what you’d expect in terms of free-flowing football that we’ll hopefully see in the future, but it’s a solid start from the new man in charge that’s for sure.”
This week also saw United learn their fate in the next round of the Champions League as the draw was made for the last 16.
Intriguingly, the draw had to be re-done after a technical error, meaning the Red Devils will now take on Atletico Madrid despite being drawn against Paris Saint-Germain the first time round.
Responding to the draw for United, Chadwick said: “It’s a hugely tricky tie. I’m not sure if they would rather have played Paris Saint-Germain, they might have been an easier team to play against, in a way, but at the same time they’ve got incredible weapons up top who can kill a tie off.
“At this stage of the competition, Atletico is probably a better draw, they’re not in a brilliant run of form at the moment, they’re not doing as well as they’d like in La Liga. Obviously Liverpool went there and created a lot of chances. Atletico will throw up massive challenges, but it’s probably better than the first draw.”