In the latter stages of Manchester United’s 1-1 draw against Southampton, the chant ‘attack, attack, attack’ could be clearly heard from the roar of the Stretford End. It’s just a shame the team didn’t respond to their supporters.
It was obvious that United’s attack couldn’t live up to fan expectations and in the second half, they offered nothing in front of goal. Cristiano Ronaldo was silently nullified due to a lack of chances being created for him in the final third.
While Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were an attacking threat in the first half, they vanished in the second 45 minutes. They weren’t the only ones. The same also applies to Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, who looked in a creative mood but eventually failed to turn up for the entire match. That is a recurring theme United seems unable to address.
The reaction from the crowd didn’t stop there either. As the full-time whistle blew, loud boos were heard from all areas across the ground and while there is sympathy for Rangnick over the mess he has inherited, it’s clear patience will only go so far as United continue to splutter in the hunt for a top-four finish.
It seems as though fans are beginning to grow fed up and the atmosphere emphasized that. It felt as if it was harking back to the days of imploring Louis van Gaal’s United sides to attack with more regularity and gusto. United continue to keep dropping points and it’s becoming clearer than ever before that the chance to secure a top-four finish will prove more difficult than many expected. After all, this was a side built with winning the title in mind.
United actually played well in the first half. A terrific goal from Jadon Sancho plus a handful of other opportunities gave United more than enough chances to put the game to bed. Ronaldo should have scored as he wandered around Fraser Forster and there was even a three-vs-one situation on the counter which the counterattacking forwards involved somehow failed to convert.
Wasted chances are becoming a theme under Rangnick at United and fans can clearly see it. There was a positive atmosphere from the beginning of the match because his team was playing the attacking style of football fans are accustomed to but, in the end, their intensity levels waned.
Che Adams’ second half-equaliser earned a precious point for the Saints at Old Trafford, whose energy in the second half was in stark contrast to the stodgy nature of Rangnick’s team.
United supporters have had to grow used to the trend that’s become common in a post-Sir Alex Ferguson era – the perpetual cycle of hiring and sacking managers. Having been through so many different regimes, fans have started to come to the realization that the coach isn’t always the biggest problem.
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Supporters can see that Rangnick isn’t the issue. He’s just come into the club and is clearly an intelligent individual with bright ideas. It’s just he does n’t have the players to instill his very specific philosophy to him.
Some of these players have tried and failed under more than one manager. It’s time to stop pointing the finger at the coaches and begin to question the individuals who are expected to perform on the pitch.
You know something is wrong when the team fails to show the same amount of passion on the pitch as the fans do from the terraces. Players are meant to embody the life and soul of a football club and some of the current crop are failing to do that at the moment.
For now, it feels like it could be while until the relationship between United’s players and supporters is rekindled once again. And Rangnick will be all too aware that patience is wearing thin.
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