Wayne Rooney expresses Ralf Rangnick doubts as he warns Man Utd they face ‘punishment’

Ralf Rangnick reflects on Wolves defeat

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Manchester United icon Wayne Rooney has expressed doubts about how Ralf Rangnick will cope when he goes up against the bigger teams. The Red Devils were beaten by Wolves on Monday night and Rooney wonders how the German’s tactical approach could be ‘punished’ against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal. 

Joao Moutinho scored the only goal of the game for a Wolves side who had not won at Old Trafford in nearly 41 years.  

It was a disjointed and lacklustre performance by United. They managed just two shots on target and one of those was a Bruno Fernandes free kick in added-time. 

The loss was Rangnick’s first as United’s interim head coach but there had been evidence that such a display was on the horizon.  

The 20-times English champions stuttered during a 1-1 draw with Newcastle and were unconvincing during successive 1-0 victories over Crystal Palace and Norwich. 

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Only in the 3-1 win against Burnley did United properly dominate their opposition.  

United’s record scorer Rooney, who now manages Derby County, was at the Palace game and enjoyed the performance. However, he wonders how a Rangnick team will perform against the Premier League’s big-hitters.  

“I’ve been to a few games, taken my kids. Obviously it’s been difficult for them,” Rooney told Alan Shearer in an interview for The Athletic, which was likely conducted before United’s defeat against Wolves. 

“I think it had got to the point with Ole where everyone could see it was coming to an end. With the new manager now, you don’t know. 

“I’m sure it’s a lot different to anywhere he has managed before. There’s a lot more pressure, managing a lot of high-profile players. 

“I was at his first game against Crystal Palace and I thought they looked very good. My only concern, with that shape, was that when you come up against better teams — Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal — you could get punished.  

“The most important thing is that the players need to buy into it. He needs to get them working as a group rather than as individuals.”  

The last line echoes frustrations by both Rangnick and Luke Shaw after the Wolves reverse.  

Left-back Shaw incredibly conceded that he felt his team-mates were not ‘together’ on the pitch at Old Trafford. 

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“We didn’t have many options on the ball and we weren’t on the front foot. We have to put more pressure on them, we have to have intensity,” the England star reflected to Sky Sports. 

“Us players, we have been here a long time, maybe tonight we struggled, I didn’t think we were all there together.   

“You look at the players we have, we have unbelievable quality but sometimes quality is not enough. 

“We need to bring the intensity and more motivation. Inside the dressing room, we know what we want but out on the pitch we need to give 100 per cent.”
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