Ralf Rangnick’s unsung hero can be his clean sheet machine in Manchester United’s top-four race – Omar Garrick

Ralf Rangnick would’ve been pleased with Manchester United’s second half performance against Brighton and one area that showed promise was in the defence.

It was United’s fifth clean sheet under Rangnick, which can only be viewed as a positive considering some of the stick that his central defenders have been getting in recent weeks.

Captain Harry Maguire was rightly praised on Tuesday evening, getting back on track following some dismal outings.

But it wasn’t just Maguire who played well at the back for United. In fact, you could argue their best defensive performer went unnoticed and not for the first time.

Victor Lindelof put in a comfortable and assured performance at the back for Rangnick’s team and has certainly given him something to think about.

Lindelof wasn’t originally meant to be in the starting line-up for United but Rafael Varane was taken ill during the warm-up. He certainly grabbed his chance from him.

As per FBRef, Lindelof made the joint highest amount of interceptions on the United team (three), while winning two aerial duels and maintaining an 87.5% pass accuracy.

It was a very comfortable performance from a player who sometimes doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He may not be the Roll-Royce defend every fan dreams of, but he does his job exceptionally and is one of, if not the, most intelligent defenders at the club.

Victor Lindelof of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on February 15, 2022 in Manchester, England.
Lindelof has been superb under Rangnick

Whenever Lindelof has played for Rangnick, he’s been excellent and made his defensive partner look even better.

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When Maguire had a rib injury and Varane and Lindelof were playing at centre-back, it was the Frenchman who was widely praised.

Similarly against Brighton, it was Maguire taking plaudits for his performance, while everyone seemed to forget about Lindelof.

Rangnick will certainly have a selection dilemma to think about when all of his defenders are fit and Lindelof has given him an extra reason to place him ahead of both Varane and Maguire.

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Under Rangnick, Lindelof has kept the joint-highest amount of clean sheets among United’s central defenders (four alongside Maguire) and done so in fewer games.

United have conceded three times with Lindelof in the team during the Rangnick era. That leaps to eight and nine for Maguire and Varane respectively.

If United are going to judge their selection via statistics, it’s clear who should be in the starting line-up for the foreseeable future.

With Rangnick’s guidance, Lindelof could become United’s most influential defender.

Does Lindelof get the credit he deserves? Follow our United On My Mind writer omar garrick on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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