Ralf Rangnick has spoken in-depth with Manchester United’s sports psychologist Sascha Lense about the team’s mental frailties.
United have led 1-0 at half-time in their last three games only to end up drawing 1-1 and the goals they conceded to Burnley and Southampton came in the 47th minute and 48th minute.
Lense was brought to United by Rangnick in December and is the club’s first-ever sports psychologist, although he is only contracted to United until the end of the season.
United have scored first in 11 of Rangnick’s 13 matches in charge but only won six of them and have scored more than eleven in just three games.
Rangnick explained that he and Lense, who remain available to players the night before matches, have spoken to the players individually in an attempt to improve their mindset. “What I said, this is pretty obvious, if you are 1-0 up in the last couple of games, 11 out of 13, but we only won half of them, when you are 1-0 up and in three consecutive games you concede an equaliser, this also affects the mind of the players: ‘we should be 3-0 or 4-0 up and all of a sudden it’s 1-1’. beings, not robots, which is normal.
“There are two things. Number one is we have to be more effective to score a second and a third goal and just kill the game off, this is number one, and we had enough chances to do that. Even if this does not happen , just stick to the game plan, stay solid, stay tactically disciplined, and this is the other issue we have to achieve and what I mean when I say we need to take the next step.
“When you concede that goal, we could’ve been 2 or 3-0 up against Southampton but we weren’t and if you then concede a goal early in the second-half, everybody can understand this affects the confidence of the players.
“I spoke with Sascha about that and we regularly speak about that. The only thing we can do is speak to the players one by one to improve the whole team and explain to them why we conceded the goal and what we should do afterwards to score a second or a third goal.
“The situation is pretty clear, in 11 out of 13 games since I arrived we score the first goal, 1-0 up and we didn’t win all of them. Especially in the last three games, it was very sad that we didn’t ‘t win those games, it cost us four points in the league and the next round in the FA Cup.
“I think it’s pretty obvious the players are getting the ideas across the pitch, with every game it gets better. After the Wolves game, it started with the two games against Aston Villa. Since then, the players understand and feel how and why we Now it’s about doing that sustainably for the entire game and this is exactly what the next step is we have to take.
“The first-halves in the last couple of weeks have been really good, we didn’t concede a single goal in the first-halves. The next step is to raise our level, stay focused, physically, mentally, tactically, we just gave away those goals too easily. All of those goals we conceded in the second-half was just too easy and it was our own mistakes we made to let the other team score.”