Ralf Rangnick has been in contact with the injured Paul Pogba as he continues to get to know his Manchester United players and instil his methods.

Rangnick defeated Crystal Palace 1-0 in his first game in charge last Sunday, becoming the first of six German managers to win their opening game in the Premier League.

A youthful United side, which featured six teenagers for just the fifth time in Champions League history, were then held to a 1-1 draw by Young Boys at Old Trafford and the Red Devils now prepare to visit Norwich City on Saturday.

They will do so, however, without Pogba – who is currently in Dubai in an attempt to recover from a thigh injury – but Rangnick explained he has spoken to the France international as he continues to outline his plans with the squad.

"We spoke over the phone two days ago or on Tuesday," Rangnick told reporters at Friday's news conference. 

"He was still in Dubai, he's expected to come back today and we will get to know each other in person on Sunday. We had a telephone call for around 10 or 15 minutes and he told me he was getting better. 

"Obviously, he still isn't fully fit and from what I've heard it will take another couple of weeks until he's fit for training again. He has been out for quite some time so it will take another couple of weeks to get him match fit."

Rangnick faces his first away game in the Premier League against Norwich, with none of the last four permanent United managers losing their first league game on the road since Alex Ferguson in November 1986.

However, Norwich head coach Dean Smith has already beaten United this term with Aston Villa.

He is aiming to become the first manager since Andy Aitken in 1908-09 to beat United with two different clubs in the same top-flight season.

Rangnick, though, has been satisfied with his side's work ethic so far as he looks to build on a pleasing showing against Palace.

"In the first instance, it was about getting to know the players," he added. "We did quite a lot of video footage with them in order to tell them how we want to play. 

"As we all saw, they did well in that game. Not everything was perfect, but quite a few things worked out well. We were always on the front foot, we had control of the game. 

"Now it's about taking the next steps. What we showed against Crystal Palace was good. We didn't allow them to score or give them too many opportunities.

"[Norwich] have improved since the change of managers. They play a little bit more direct, a little bit more vertical than they did with Daniel Farke, so it will be a challenge to play at Carrow Road.

"But we want to improve our performance, we want to build on what we showed against Crystal Palace and hopefully get the next win tomorrow."

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick outlined the differences between "massive talent" Mason Greenwood and Erling Haaland after the Red Devils star scored a stunning Champions League goal.

Greenwood opened the scoring with a spectacular finish before Fabian Rieder equalised for Young Boys prior to half-time in Wednesday's 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Already assured of a last-16 berth, Rangnick made 11 changes to the United team that started the 1-0 Premier League win over Crystal Palace, and Greenwood stood out in the final Group F fixture.

Greenwood scored his eighth goal in major European competition (excluding qualifiers) for United – the most of any player for the club before their 21st birthday, overtaking team-mate Marcus Rashford.

Rangnick praised the 20-year-old post-match, telling reporters: "I think, again, today, he also showed – not only because of that beautiful goal – but also the way he set up the opportunity for Juan Mata it was brilliant.

"He is a massive talent. Left foot, right foot, good on the ball. Also, the way that he set up the goal for Fred on Sunday [against Crystal Palace]. But, still, it's about continuity. He still needs to develop physically. But technically, for his age, he's a great player.

"My job is to develop him, to make an athlete out of him. If he manages to do that, he can become a regular player for this club."

Rangnick was then asked about comparisons between Green and Borussia Dortmund sensation Haaland, who has been linked with a move to United.

"I don't think that we should compare those two players," Rangnick, who worked with Haaland at Salzburg, said. "They are different kind of strikers and players.

"Erling Haaland is extremely physical. He's, I don't know, 1.93 or 1.94cm. A different kind of striker. Erling, for me, is a target striker. He can play as a single striker, like a target-man, or with another striker in a 4--4-2. 

"I think Mason is more of a nine-and-a-half. He can play as a striker, he can also come from the wing, he can play together with another striker. And he is very technical - left foot, right foot. As I said, sometimes he looks a little bit not on an athletic level. And, I think, we have to develop him there physically. But, technically, all the things that he can do with the ball are outstanding. So I am not so much worried about his technical level.

"We need to develop him physically and mentally to become the strongest version of himself. If we manage to do that, he can become a regular player and a very valuable player for our club for the future."

Ralf Rangnick accepts Manchester United were "a bit sloppy" in their 1-1 Champions League draw with Young Boys, but insists his side could have won the game.

With United already confirmed as group winners, Rangnick took the opportunity to rotate his squad on Wednesday by making 11 changes to the side that started in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Mason Greenwood opened the scoring at Old Trafford with a spectacular finish early on as the Red Devils started strongly, but Young Boys equalised through Fabian Rieder shortly before the break and were the better side in the second half, finishing the game with 17 shots to United's seven.

Rangnick feels his men should have scored more during their strong first-half spell, but pointed out their lack of familiarity with each other as a unit. 

"I was fully aware before the game that with this team that we played today, we haven't played together," Rangnick said to BT Sport after the game. 

"The first half-hour we did quite okay. We had a few unforced errors but had control of the game. We should have been 2-0 or 3-0 up. We had some great opportunities but we didn't score. We were a bit sloppy with those situations.

"After we conceded the equaliser we were not defending high enough or proactive enough. If in the end, the score would have been 4-4, then nobody could have complained.

"There were quite a few debuts and game time for players who desperately need game time. I wouldn't say I was happy but it was okay.

"What was a little bit annoying was we gave the ball away and played too many balls into the first line of their area. Whenever we played the ball into the second or third line, we were always dangerous. I told them that before the game but they still played into that first line."

Rangnick also had fitness updates on full-back pair Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with the former playing for an hour on his return from injury and the latter appearing to hurt himself late on.

"It was good to see Luke Shaw back and hopefully he can be a candidate for the Norwich game," Rangnick continued.

"Aaron Wan-Bissaka got two knocks so we will have to see how this develops. It was an experiment but I did it on purpose as I wanted to save the players' energy for Norwich."

Manchester United's Champions League campaign has been one of the finest of margins, to say the least.

A shock defeat at Wednesday's opponents Young Boys on matchday one was a dreadful start, and at numerous occasions in their following two matches they appeared to be in trouble again.

They needed late winners from Cristiano Ronaldo at home to both Villarreal and Atalanta, coming back from 2-0 down at half-time against the Italians.

Ronaldo then got a last-gasp equaliser away to Atalanta to salvage a 2-2 draw. Had he not delivered the goods on that occasion, United would have gone to Villarreal on matchday five knowing they could be eliminated there and then.

As it was, they ultimately left Spain with a 2-0 win thanks to a couple of goals in the final 12 minutes, with Michael Carrick – who had taken up a caretaker manager position after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dismissal – ensuring United finished top of the group.

Ralf Rangnick will be United's third manager of the group stage when Young Boys visit, and he has the luxury of being able to rest certain players and give others a chance to impress.

So, who will be hoping for a rare opportunity?

Dean Henderson

It wasn't perfect, but Henderson's first season in the Man United first team last term was promising. David de Gea suffered a knee injury that allowed the academy product his first serious run in the side after previously impressing on loan at Sheffield United.

He featured 26 times for the Red Devils across all competitions, keeping as many clean sheets (12) as De Gea despite playing 10 matches fewer.

De Gea prevented fractionally more goals over the season (1.9 to 1.6), according to Opta's expected goals on target (xGOT) data, although Henderson boasted a better save percentage (75.8 to 66.4).

This season, due to injury and illness – and De Gea's improved form – Henderson has only managed a single appearance.

With rumours linking him with a loan move to Ajax in January, it's certainly a good time to start getting minutes again, whether that's to improve his standing at United or put himself in the shop window.

Donny Van de Beek

As with Henderson, Rangnick confirmed Van de Beek will start on Wednesday, which will make it five appearances since Solskjaer was sacked; up until that point, the former Ajax midfielder had played in just six games all season.

It's been well publicised how Van de Beek's career seemingly stalled after joining United, making only four Premier League starts in 2020-21, despite costing just over £40million, and falling out of favour at international level.

Solskjaer appeared unsure how best to utilise Van de Beek's talents, but at the very least he looks set for a few more opportunities under Rangnick.

He's one of several who have been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, but an eye-catching display against Young Boys might just provide Rangnick with proof Van de Beek can be a valuable option in midfield.

Jesse Lingard

Everything was looking promising for Lingard at the start of the season. He'd returned from a remarkable loan spell at West Ham and Solskjaer was talking a good game about how much football the attacking midfielder was going to get.

Fast forward to the present day... Lingard has racked up just 87 minutes in the Premier League, with those coming across eight brief substitute appearances.

This has hardly been ideal given United apparently rejected bids of around £25m for Lingard in pre-season because Solskjaer wanted him for the first team; additionally, the England man's contract expires at the end of the season, so if they cannot convince him that he'll be playing, the club looks certain to lose a valuable asset for free.

Last season reminded everyone Lingard is not lacking talent. Between his Hammers debut in February and the end of 2020-21, the 28-year-old scored nine times in the Premier League, a haul bettered by just five players.

Only one of those was a penalty, leaving him with a non-penalty expected goals (xG) outperformance of 4.7, the second-best record in that time. Of course, such form isn't necessarily sustainable, but it speaks to how effective Lingard can be when he has the belief of his manager.

Rangnick would do well to recognise that.

Amad Diallo

It's been a difficult season for Ivory Coast winger Amad. He was about to go on loan at the start of the season before an injury robbed him of that opportunity.

He returned to the pitch for United's Under-23s at the end of October and has played two games for them, netting a couple of goals against Leeds United.

United are well-stocked in the wide positions, which provides another obstacle, but Amad has been on the bench twice in the past few weeks under Carrick – against Villarreal and Arsenal.

One would expect United to arrange another loan move for Amad in January, but before then he may just represent something of a wildcard option for the new manager.

Teden Mengi

Centre-back Mengi has been highly rated at United for a while and even spent the second half of last season on loan at Derby County.

It seemed likely he'd return to Pride Park for 2021-22, but a deal was apparently scuppered by Derby's financial woes, with Mengi instead staying with United's Under-23s.

Mengi spent the pre-season with the first team and featured for Solskjaer's side, although that did not translate to any minutes in competitive action.

But with Raphael Varane not ready to return from injury and Phil Jones not registered in the Champions League, United's senior options at centre-back are limited to just Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.

If Rangnick does want wholesale changes, which has been suggested, Mengi may be a surprise starter – and what an opportunity it would represent for the 19-year-old.

Ralf Rangnick has strengthened his Manchester United staff by bringing in assistant coach Chris Armas and sports psychologist Sascha Lense.

Interim manager Rangnick has until the end of the season to make his mark at Old Trafford, with scope for two further years as a consultant, after club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in late November.

Former RB Leipzig head coach Rangnick started with a 1-0 home triumph over Crystal Palace on Sunday, becoming the first German boss to win his opening game in the Premier League after five countrymen previously tried and failed.

United technical director Darren Fletcher and coach Kieran McKenna acted as assistants for that victory and Rangnick has now bolstered his backroom staff with new appointments.

Lense has worked alongside Rangnick previously, most recently at RB Leipzig, while United's new boss got to know former New York Red Bulls manager Armas while operating as Red Bull's global head of sport and development.

"It won't be that many [staff coming in]," Rangnick told a news conference on Tuesday. "So far I'm very happy to work with the staff I have met last week, and they gave me a lot of help in the last couple of days in preparation for the Crystal Palace game.

"We have decided to bring in a sports psychologist, with Sascha Lense. He's from Germany, he's a former second division player.

"I worked with him for three years at Leipzig, in the year I won promotion from the second to the first division myself and the following two years when Ralph Hasenhuttl was head coach and Zsolt Low – the current assistant coach of Thomas Tuchel [at Chelsea] – was assistant coach.

"I will also have one other assistant coach, with Chris Armas. Chris used to be the assistant coach at the New York Red Bulls under Jesse Marsch. That was five years ago, when I first met him. Since then, we have met quite frequently."

With United's spot in the next round of the Champions League already confirmed, Rangnick has hinted at heavy rotation for Wednesday's home clash with Young Boys, who have not won away in the Champions League or European Cup since August 1960.

The 63-year-old Rangnick confirmed that Donny van de Beek and Dean Henderson will start and told the club's official website that Nemanja Matic will captain the side.

Ralf Rangnick insisted Manchester United can only succeed with development as he declared there is more room for improvement ahead of the visit of Young Boys.

United head into their final Champions League Group F game with their place in the knockout stage already confirmed and with new interim manager Rangnick in charge for his first European game with the Red Devils.

The former RB Leipzig coach and director oversaw a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday before Wednesday's clash against Young Boys, who have not won away in the European Cup/Champions League since August 1960.

But Rangnick refused to get ahead of himself as he pinpointed development and regaining confidence as the key factors to initial success.

"As Nemanja [Matic] said, if you win games it is the best tool to regain confidence," Rangnick told reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"[The] last four games, three wins, one draw. It is about regaining confidence. Players have to buy in. I can tell them whatever I want. They need to make my idea of football their own. The first step has been taken, then it is about the next ones.

"Success can only be achieved with development, if we can develop the team in next six months.

"[Sunday] showed how the team can play [but there is] still room to improve. The first clean sheet at Old Trafford since April, it was clear where the priorities should be.

"At the end, successful hopefully means playing in the Champions League, and the FA Cup [Aston Villa in the third round] is not an easy draw. It's like another Premier League game."

Cristiano Ronaldo is eyeing his own record as he looks to repeat the feat of scoring in all six group stage games in the competition, having done so for Real Madrid in 2017-18 – the only previous instance of this happening.

Only former striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has ever enjoyed a longer scoring streak for United in the Champions League (nine goals in 2003, six in 2002) than Ronaldo (five), but it remains unclear whether the former Madrid man will start.

Rangnick, while hinting at rotation of his side at Old Trafford, did confirm that Donny van de Beek and Dean Henderson would be involved.

"Well to start with they will both play tomorrow, in the first XI," Rangnick said of Henderson and Van de Beek. "Donny came on as a sub last Sunday. Dean is a very ambitious goalkeeper, we need two.

"I haven't finally decided [the team] but it makes sense we will rest a few players due to the crowded fixture list.

"We need to make sure we have as many recovered players as possible but also need the positive momentum. The first game in this group we lost at Young Boys, so we need to make up for that."

Asked for an update on Raphael Varane and Edinson Cavani, Rangnick added: "They both cannot play tomorrow but they were part of the training today. Edi even yesterday, Rapha the first time.

"Expect them both in full training next week, they are both top players. It is also about sustainability. It would be great to have them as soon as possible, but obviously we have to think for the rest of season."

For so long, Paulo Dybala has been tipped to extend his Juventus contract.

However, Dybala is yet to put pen to paper as his current deal winds down.

Liverpool are reportedly monitoring the situation and are ready to pounce.

 

TOP STORY – DYBALA EMERGES AS LIVERPOOL TARGET

Liverpool are interested in signing soon-to-be Juventus free agent Paulo Dybala, according to Calciomercato.

Dybala is out of contract at the end of the season and while there have been negotiations, the Juve star is yet to re-sign in Turin.

The situation has reportedly alerted Premier League giants Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

- El Nacional claims Real Madrid are eyeing Rennes sensation Lovro Majer as the successor to fellow Croatian Luka Modric at the Santiago Bernabeu. Modric is out of contract at season's end and has been linked with Premier League champions Manchester City.

Ousmane Dembele wants to rebuild his career away from Barcelona, reports Mundo Deportivo. The Frenchman has been linked with Manchester United, Newcastle United, Tottenham and Chelsea.

- United forward Edinson Cavani is an option for Barca as they look to bolster their attack, says Mundo Deportivo. Basel's Arthur Cabral has emerged as a possible January option.

Jose Mourinho's job at Roma is not in danger, according to Fabrizio Romano. Roma have only won three of their past nine Serie A fixtures.

- Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is still set to join Serie A champions Inter despite interest from Barca, per Romano.

- Former RB Leipzig head coach Jesse Marsch is an option to join Ralf Rangnick's coaching staff at United. Marsch was sacked by Bundesliga side Leipzig earlier this week.

Chelsea slipped from first to third in the Premier League over the weekend after a costly defeat at West Ham, which included a bizarre late winner for the hosts.

Divock Origi was told to "Be Divock" by Jurgen Klopp, so duly went and scored a 94th minute winner for Liverpool at Wolves, while Ralf Rangnick achieved something his fellow German didn't in his first game as interim boss at Manchester United.

Antonio Conte and Steven Gerrard also continued their positive starts to respective gigs at Tottenham and Aston Villa in a sentence that feels like it's straight from your favourite football management simulation game rather than real life.

With all that and more, here are some of the weekend's quirky stats from the Premier League...

 

Chelsea Hammered

Did he mean it? Arthur Masuaku says no but your West Ham supporting mates say yes.

Masuaku's kick of the ball in the 87th minute at the London Stadium flew past Edouard Mendy to inflict Chelsea's second league defeat of the season, toppling them from the summit of the Premier League.

It was the Frenchman's first Premier League goal in his 96th appearance for the Hammers, from his 29th attempt at goal, if you can even call it that.

The 3-2 defeat was Chelsea's first in the Premier League after leading at half-time since December 2018 against Wolves under Maurizio Sarri – they had been unbeaten in 48 league games when ahead at half-time before Saturday (W40 D8).

It is no time to panic for Blues fans, though. The future looks bright with all their talented young players, accompanied by Brazil's answer to Steve Buscemi with a skateboard over his shoulder.

Aged 37 years and 73 days, Thiago Silva became the oldest player to score for Chelsea in the Premier League, breaking Didier Drogba's record from April 2015 against Leicester City (37 years, 49 days).

The Late Late Show with Divock Origi

You could say there was an air of inevitability about it as Divock Origi arrived on the Molineux pitch in the 68th minute on Saturday.

The Belgian is a man who arguably deserves a statue more than a starting place at Anfield, having scored just once in the league prior to this game since the last day of the 2019-20 season, but who has famously bagged late goals just when his team has needed them.

His dramatic strike in the closing seconds of this game was Liverpool’s 39th winner scored in 90+ minutes in the Premier League, at least 13 more than any other side. It was also his 10th as a substitute in the Premier League for the Reds, with no player having netted more from the bench for the club in the competition.

It felt harsh on Wolves, though they had hardly done much to bother their opponents at the other end of the pitch, having just three shots in this game, their fewest in a Premier League match since March 2019 (two vs Chelsea).

One particularly sore loser will have been skipper Conor Coady. Although a former Liverpool player, he will have been hoping his heroic goal-line block of Diogo Jota's effort, with an xG of 0.604, would have at least secured a point for his team, particularly as the ball hit him square in the Divocks.

 

King Ralf

There had not been such anticipation about the future of Manchester United since that bloke Ole was at the wheel. Remember him?

United's interim gaffer Ralf Rangnick became the sixth German to manage in the Premier League as he stood in the Old Trafford dugout to see his new team beat Crystal Palace, and he was the first to win his debut game in charge in the competition (Felix Magath, Klopp, Jan Siewert, Daniel Farke and Thomas Tuchel all failing to do so before him).

Following the 1-0 success, six of the last seven managers (including caretakers) have won their first game in charge of the Red Devils in all competitions, with Louis van Gaal being the only exception (he suffered a 2-1 loss against Swansea City at Old Trafford in August 2014).

United also kept their first clean sheet at home in all competitions since April against Granada in the Europa League, having conceded in 15 consecutive home matches prior to Sunday.

Fred's impressive winner was his second goal of the season in 12 Premier League matches, as many as he scored in 76 appearances in his first three seasons in the competition beforehand.

More capital chaos for Canaries

After their 3-0 defeat at Tottenham, Norwich City have now lost 12 of their past 13 Premier League games in London (W1), conceding 29 goals and scoring just three.

Antonio Conte became the third Spurs manager to win his first three Premier League home games, after Ryan Mason and Harry Redknapp, but will be hoping that Kane will start to find the net again soon, with the England captain having only scored once in 13 league games this season.

Norwich manager Dean Smith felt his team were hard done by, and perhaps he had a point when you consider how close the xG of the contest ended, with Norwich's 1.33 only just behind Spurs' 1.52. It was little surprise that Conte's men were more deadly in their finishing though, particularly with Son Heung-min about.

The South Korea forward has been directly involved in 50 per cent of Tottenham’s league goals this season (six goals, two assists), with only Teemu Pukki (63 per cent) and Emmanuel Dennis (55 per cent) being involved in a higher share of their side's tally.

Son both scored and assisted in a single Premier League game for the 19th time. Since 2015-16, only Mohamed Salah (22) has done so more often in the competition.

 

Steve Gerrard, Gerrard, seems management isn't hard

Doing a stellar job at Rangers is one thing, but Steven Gerrard's management capability was really going to come under the microscope when he moved south to the Premier League.

It is still early days of course, but so far, the former Liverpool and England midfielder must be wondering what all the fuss was about as he saw his Aston Villa side win again with a 2-1 victory against Leicester City and his former boss Brendan Rodgers.

Having only won three of their first 11 Premier League games of the season under Dean Smith (D1 L7), Villa have since won three of their first four under Gerrard, with the only failure coming in the narrow 2-1 defeat at home to champions Manchester City.

Gerrard emphasised on his arrival that he wanted to improve the defence, but Ezri Konsa must have thought he meant at the other end as he bagged a brace on Sunday. In his 216th professional appearance in all competitions, Konsa scored twice in a game for the first time. In doing so, he was the first defender to score a brace for Aston Villa in a Premier League match since Ciaran Clark against Arsenal in November 2010.

Leicester, meanwhile, are now the first side to both score and concede a goal in 15 consecutive away games in England's top flight since Burnley from April 1961 to March 1962 (16 in a row).

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag said he is "ready" to coach abroad and would be "happy to take up that challenge" amid reported interest from Manchester United.

Ten Hag has been linked with Premier League giants United, who are eyeing a long-term manager following the interim appointment of Ralf Rangnick until the end of the season.

Ajax's Ten Hag has impressed in his time in Amsterdam, where the 51-year-old has delivered two Eredivisie titles and embarked on a memorable run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals.

Ten Hag's men have been the entertainers of Europe this term, dazzling their way into the Champions League round of 16, while topping the Eredivisie ahead of rivals PSV by a point.

"I think I'm ready for it [coaching abroad]. I would be happy to take up that challenge," Ten Hag told De Volkskrant, with Ajax managing to score 48 goals while only conceding twice in the league this term.

"But I'm not chasing it. If it turns out that that step will never come, I will not say that my coaching career has failed.

"But I think I have sufficient competencies to take on that challenge."

The Rangnick era, albeit on an interim basis, started with a 1-0 win for United at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Rangnick became the sixth German to manage in the Premier League and the first German to win his first game in charge in the competition (Felix Magath, Jurgen Klopp, Jan Siewert, Daniel Farke and Thomas Tuchel all failing to do so before him).

Following the victory against Palace, six of the last seven managers (including caretakers) have won their first game in charge of United in all competitions, with Louis van Gaal being the only exception during this period (a 2-1 loss to Swansea City at Old Trafford in August 2014).

Ralf Rangnick hailed Fred as a ray of sunshine after a fine strike from Manchester United's much-maligned midfielder gave the interim boss a winning start.

A 77th-minute strike from United's Brazil international clinched a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace as Rangnick took charge from the dugout for the first time.

The former Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig boss watched from the stand when United beat Arsenal 3-2 on Thursday, and it was a first day in the frontline for the German on Sunday.

Among a plethora of likely match-winners, Fred was way down the list, but it was his stylish strike, with his unfavoured right foot, that saw off Patrick Vieira's Eagles.

Fred's deep-lying midfield role has been frequently cited by United observers as a weak point in their team, but on this occasion he was a hero. He has scored twice in 12 Premier League matches this season, as many as he managed in 76 appearances across his first three campaigns in the competition.

Rangnick said: "I think everybody loves Fred. You have to love Fred. I've got to know him for only two days now but he's a sunshine."

A United training session on Saturday had to be brief due to grotty Manchester weather, reducing Rangnick's already limited opportunity to work on the pitch with his new players.

The 63-year-old still managed to piece together a tactical plan that just about paid off, with United pressing heavily at times and showing a subtle change in shape, Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes given fresh instructions.

Rangnick made the point in his Friday news conference that a priority would be to keep the opposition away from United's penalty area, and he felt his players came good on following that instruction.

The outcome means United have lost just two of their 25 Premier League matches against Palace (W18 D5), keeping a clean sheet in their last two league games against the Eagles.

In an interview on United's official website, Rangnick said: "Obviously it was about keeping them away from our goal, keeping them consistently under pressure and chasing balls and winning balls.

"We decided to go for a slightly different formation but only slightly different. We played with two strikers, Marcus and Cristiano up front with Jadon and Bruno on the 10 position and for the rest of the team it was the same position as usual. I just thought it might be better to have control in the centre of the pitch with Cristiano having a partner up front and I think it worked out well."

United nudged up to sixth place in the Premier League and have taken seven points from three games since being thrashed 4-1 at Watford, the result from which there was no coming back for former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Rangnick added: "In quite a few games I saw on TV and also against Arsenal, we were a bit shaky in certain times of the game but today we had the feeling that we controlled the game."

Ralf Rangnick praised Cristiano Ronaldo's work-rate and admitted he was surprised by Fred's match-winning strike after Manchester United beat Crystal Palace in his first game in charge.

United looked set to be held to a frustrating and goalless Premier League draw until Fred picked out the far corner of the net with a sweet right-footed strike after 77 minutes at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Red Devils had swarmed all over the Eagles in the first half with an intense high-press approach that interim manager Rangnick will demand during his tenure.

They struggled to break down a well-drilled Palace though, until Fred came up with the only goal of the game, the 1-0 win moving United up to sixth – three points behind fourth-placed West Ham.

Questions have been asked over whether Ronaldo would put in the sort of shift Rangnick will expect off the ball, but the German doffed his cap to the prolific forward as he delivered his verdict on United's performance.

"I am very happy with the way the team performed, especially the first half-hour, with the pressing, it was exceptional. The only thing missing was the 1-0 or 2-0," Rangnick told the BBC's Match of the Day.

"The way we defended, we had control of the whole game, the clean sheet was the most important part. These are the things we must improve. We need to keep clean sheets. With just the one training session, I was really impressed. We did much better than expected.

"We always tried to be on the front foot. We were never not, apart from maybe the last five minutes. At all other times we were trying to keep them away from our goal.

"We wanted to play with two strikers, especially in the central position. By the way, Cristiano Ronaldo's work off the ball, chapeau."

Rangnick had to be patient for the first goal of his tenure and he raised eyebrows over Fred's decisive strike.

"I had to ask my assistant coach if that was Fred's right foot. I thought he could only shoot with his left. I'm happy for him," Rangnick said.

"It's always easier to build on things after you're successful. We must produce further clean sheets and get better at creating chances for our attack. Overall I was very pleased with the way we played today."

Fred scored the only goal of the game as Manchester United started Ralf Rangnick's reign with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

United made a blistering start to their first game under interim manager Rangnick, but they were frustrated by a well-drilled Palace side for much of the game.

Alex Telles struck the crossbar before Fred's clinical finish secured all three points for the Red Devils on Sunday.

Victory for United boosted their bid to secure a Champions League spot as Palace suffered their first defeat at Old Trafford for over four years.

United showed the intensity Rangnick demands from the start with a high-press approach and Telles flashed an early shot narrowly wide.

The Red Devils were relentless as they continued to pen Palace in, James Tomkins blocking a well-struck drive from Fred before Vicente Guaita denied Bruno Fernandes.

Patrick Vieira's side weathered the storm but Diogo Dalot wasted a chance to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time, failing to hit the target when he let fly with his left foot from inside the penalty area.

United did not muster such a threat early in the second half and Rangnick replaced Jadon Sancho with Mason Greenwood just after the hour mark.

Telles clipped the top of the crossbar with a whipped free-kick from wide on the right and Jordan Ayew missed a glorious chance to put Palace in front from close range.

Fred produced the quality in the final third that had been lacking to send the United fans into raptures, finding the far corner with a measured right-foot finish from just outside the box.

Ralf Rangnick believes Manchester United should focus on signing younger players as the interim Red Devils manager outlined his transfer strategy.

Rangnick will take charge of his first match when United welcome Crystal Palace to Old Trafford in Premier League action on Sunday.

The 63-year-old has been appointed until the end of the season, with former RB Leipzig boss Rangnick set to move into a consultancy role until 204.

Rangnick has earned a reputation for identifying young talent during his work with Red Bull-owned clubs Leipzig and Salzburg and as the January window approaches, he provided an insight into how he operates.

"One does not exclude the other. The team has, with Mason [Greenwood] and Marcus [Rashford], two players who are homegrown and have come from the youth ranks," said Rangnick after United signing 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo and 28-year-old Raphael Varane ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, having also lured Jadon Sancho, 21, to Manchester.

"It's about recruitment but also at a club like Man United, with a top academy, we should make sure that every year we have one or two players who are good enough to make it into the first team.

"On the other hand, with signing players for transfer fees, it's a question of what you want. If you pay big money for a 30-year-old and he's still good enough to make you successful, I don't mind that.

"But you have to be aware the money you invest is only being invested in the potential success over the next two or three years, you won't get any return.

"This is where I always think it always makes more sense to sign a player at 21 or 22 and if you then have to pay a big fee, at least you have the chance to develop him into a player who is worth even more."

At Leipzig, after spells with the likes of Hoffenheim, Hannover and Schalke, Rangnick – known for his high pressing – took charge of the team in two different spells, having initially joined parent company Red Bull as director of football in 2012.

Under Rangnick's leadership, Leipzig had gone from the regional league to Champions League qualification by 2017.

Rangnick – who will become only the sixth German to manage in the Premier League – was promoted to the head of sport and development for Red Bull in 2019, before eventually joining Lokomotiv Moscow earlier this year.

Rangnick has never managed outside of his native Germany, taking charge of five different teams in the German Bundesliga in his career. The last side he managed was Leipzig, winning promotion with them from 2.Bundesliga in 2015-16 before returning to the club for the 2018-19 top-flight season and leading them to third place.

Across 294 Bundesliga matches, Rangnick has a winning percentage of 41. He first took charge in the top flight in May 1999 at Stuttgart, losing 2-0 to Bayern Munich, while his last game in charge in the competition came 20 years later in May 2019 at Leipzig, a 2-1 defeat to Werder Bremen.

His best top-flight finish as a coach is second, achieved in 2004-05 with Schalke, a side he took over mid-season and led to a runners-up position and also to the final of that season's DFB-Pokal, ultimately losing 2-1 to Bayern.

Compared to countryman and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp due to their high-octane brand of football, Rangnick addressed the comparisons.

"Well my football is definitely not a slow waltz!," said Rangnick, whose United have already been linked with Leipzig pair Christopher Nkunku and Amadou Haidara. "I am not that far apart from Jurgen in terms of our ideas about a style of football. That’s no secret.

"But you have to be aware of what kind of players you have and where they stand. I cannot ask things of them that they can’t deliver right now.

"I have to take them and accept where they currently are. They are experienced and smart enough to know that. I cannot turn the players we have into the pressing monsters I want them to be within two, three or four weeks.

"The same happened to Jurgen when he came in the middle of the season and they finished eighth or ninth. Liverpool had a lot of injuries in that time - muscle injuries - because they were not used to that kind of training. So we have to be smart."

United are seventh in the Premier League standings and 14 points adrift of leaders and defending champions Manchester City.

The Red Devils have conceded in 15 consecutive home games in all competitions, their second-longest ever such run, after a 21-game streak ending in March 1959.

Rangnick added: "I am more than optimistic, but I also have to be realistic. Five weeks ago, our team lost 5-0 against Liverpool - and it could have been a lot more if we are honest.

"Against City it was 2-0 - but it could also have been more. It was important to win the point at Chelsea but the performance? I don't know. They had 24 shots on goal and we had three.

"So right now, to say I will challenge the top Premier League managers in the next few weeks or months, is not realistic. Right now my focus is on Crystal Palace and then on Young Boys, then Norwich, then Brighton and Hove Albion and then Brentford.

"The games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City will be in March and April - and that’s when I will answer the question about challenging them."

Thomas Tuchel laughed off Ralf Rangnick's claim he was offered the Chelsea job in February, saying: "Hopefully he got the date wrong."

Rangnick was this week appointed as Manchester United's interim manager until the end of the season.

The German confirmed in his first United news conference on Friday that he had turned down an opportunity to replace Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge on a four-month deal.

Tuchel was not surprised to hear his compatriot may have been approached by the Blues hierarchy, but hopes it came earlier than stated given the former Paris Saint-Germain boss took charge of the London club late in January.

When asked about Rangnick's comments, Tuchel served up a quip as he said: "So maybe after our draw against Wolverhampton [Tuchel's first game in charge], maybe the bosses saw the draw and thought he doesn't know what he's doing so let's bring Ralf in for four months and let him take over.

"He must have the date wrong, hopefully. Otherwise, it's a nice job to have in world football to be the coach of Chelsea.

"You need to be realistic that if you're getting the phone call, you're not the only one getting the phone call. Now I'm here and I'm happy."

Tuchel revealed Trevoh Chalobah has joined the list of Chelsea absentees ahead of Saturday's derby at West Ham due to a hamstring injury.

The defender sustained the injury in a 2-1 midweek win at Watford and will undergo a scan.

Ben Chilwell (knee), Mateo Kovacic (hamstring) and N'Golo Kante (knee) also miss out, but Reece James and Jorginho have been passed fit.

Tuchel refused to be drawn on whether fit-again striker Romelu Lukaku will start in the battle between the Premier League leaders and the fourth-placed Hammers at the London Stadium.

He said: "I will not tell you because this is part of the line-up that I want to know very late and don't want the opponents to know. He is in training and wants to start, he is eager to start. But how difficult is it for Romelu to hit top level after an injury?

"I honestly don't know exactly, but we should try to reach our top level and in every match that is different. Watford caused us lots of problems, so we had to focus on not giving up many big chances. It was a mental game to not get too frustrated and wait for the chances and escape with a win.

"Tomorrow there will be new questions. We believe in what we do and are full of confidence."

Ralf Rangnick praised Cristiano Ronaldo, dismissed a theory he could cash in on any deal for Erling Haaland, and threw in the odd curveball during his first news conference as Manchester United interim manager.

It was a lively start in the job for Rangnick, who takes charge of United for the first time when they face Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

He faced questions from journalists for half an hour, giving media and fans an insight into what sort of a manager he may prove to be.

Here is a look at what the 63-year-old had to say on a wide range of topics:

THURSDAY'S ROLLER COASTER 3-2 WIN OVER ARSENAL

"You could see the potential that is in the team, but we have to do that more sustainably, to transfer the game away from our own box more into this area where we have our assets and our weapons in the team."

RONALDO BEING A KEY MAN IN HIS PLANS

"Having seen Cristiano yesterday in the second half, at the age of 36 he is an amazing, top professional. At his age, I've never seen a player who is still that physically fit. He's still a player who can easily make the difference. We play in the most competitive league in the world, so we need all the players on board. What I saw from Cristiano yesterday, he's more than willing to do that, to put his input into the team. The other team-mates will have to do the same."

FINDING THE RIGHT BLEND OF BRAIN AND BRAWN

"Of course it's train the brain. Modern football in the last 10 years has completely changed into a more physical, more athletic, more vertical, more high-speed ball game. If you watch games in early 2000s and compare it with now, you wouldn't believe it's the same ball game. It's completely changed, and in order to develop teams you need to not only train the bodies but also the brains."

LINKS TO ERLING HAALAND, AND RUMOURS OF A BONUS IF HE SIGNS THE DORTMUND STAR

"This is nonsense, obviously. Of course, there are no such clauses in my contract. It doesn't make sense now to have speculation about possible new players. Erling Haaland is a fantastic striker. I know it best myself because I was together with the people at Salzburg at the time [that Haaland played there] and I was also a little bit involved in the move from Molde to Salzburg, therefore I know what kind of player he is. In the meantime, the whole world has realised how good the player is. We have so many top players in the offensive department that we don't need to speak about any other players."

HIS LONG-RUNNING LOVE AFFAIR WITH ENGLISH FOOTBALL

"I studied English at university to become an English and PE teacher back in the late 70s, early 80s. I also lived in Brighton with a host family and at this time I fell in love with English football. In the early 80s I took the fast train from Brighton to Victoria Station and I watched every three days a home game in the old Highbury, in the old White Hart Lane or even in Liverpool – I went to Goodison Park. Since then, I have always very much cherished the way teams are supported and even yesterday, I think this is absolutely unique. You will find very, very few football clubs in the world with that much support. This is for me football in the purest sense, as it was in those times. It's more than exciting to now be part of that atmosphere."

HOW UNITED CAN PROGRESS UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP

"I think to gain control of games in the future it's got to do with playing proactively. You have to just make sure you have the biggest chance to win the next game, then step by step let the players participate, they have to go together with me. They have to follow not only my instructions, but they have to buy into the idea I can offer them how we should want to play in the future. This is what it's all about and it has to happen step by step."

HOW TO COMPETE WITH CHELSEA, MANCHESTER CITY AND LIVERPOOL

"If you look at the top three teams, they seem to be very stable and they have top coaches. If you see how they play and keep winning in style, controlling games, this is something that we have to develop. When, for example, Jurgen [Klopp] came to Liverpool and the squad he inherited at the time, I'm sure it was definitely not a better squad than the one I inherit now at Manchester United."

SLOWING DOWN UNITED'S TURNOVER OF MANAGERS

"There have been changes in management, about five or six managers since Sir Alex [Ferguson] left [in 2013], so it was difficult for the club to gain continuity with regard to signing new players, developing and sticking to the DNA of the club, and I think this is vital in modern football that you do that. For me, it's not that unusual that there were so many changes. For the future, and I think we have the same opinion, the board members and myself, it's important that this is developed in the future, that there will be not that many changes in management."

COULD THE INTERIM BECOME PERMANENT?

"We have never spoken about what might happen in the summer. Right now, I'm fully aware that they might be looking for a new manager. If they will then speak with me about that, we will see. Maybe if they ask me my opinion and everything goes well and we develop the team, I might even make the same recommendation to the board that I did at Leipzig twice, when I recommended to them that it might be a good idea to keep working with me [as coach] for one year, but this is all hypothetical."

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