Manchester United 1-0 Crystal Palace: Ralf Rangnick wins first match as Manchester United interim
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Ralf Rangnick’s reign as interim manager of Manchester United began with a narrow 1-0 win against Crystal Palace.

Fred scored the winning goal with less than 15 minutes to play when he curled a fine strike into the top left corner. The substitute, Mason Greenwood, laid the ball off to the Brazilian who was on the edge of the 18-yard box. Fred swung with his right foot and dinked Vicente Guaita elegantly. 

It's a win of great importance in terms of the Premier League table as both West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur picked up three points this weekend. 

Story of the game

Rangnick’s side opened the game with intense pressing and won the ball high up the pitch which shocked Palace, initially. The visitors passed the ball out of play a couple of times as a result of United’s press and appeared unsettled. 

It was clear to see Rangnick's eight-second rule had been implemented. The rule has been introduced to every team the German has managed. It’s a system where he instructs his side to capitalise on the opposition’s mistakes and create a goalscoring opportunity within eight seconds of winning possession.

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United also hit multiple early balls into the box for their target man, Cristiano Ronaldo. He either headed the ball goal bound or nodded it down for another attacker to strike.

In the 26th minute, Alex Telles played a beautiful ball over the top for Ronaldo to head down into the path of Bruno Fernandes who hit the ball first time but into the ground and Vincente Guaita parried wide.

The atmosphere and urgency fell flat for the majority of the second half and Rangnick made his first change on the hour mark. Jadon Sancho – arguably United’s best player of the afternoon – made way for the returning Mason Greenwood. It was Greenwood’s first appearance since the Manchester derby as he tested positive for coronavirus last month.

Telles skimmed the bar from a free kick on the far right of the 18-yard box. Palace looked incredibly comfortable in the second half compared to the first as they defended with ease when United’s energy depleted.

Jordan Ayew should have scored for the visitors in the 75th minute when his shot was passed across the face of the goal from an acute angle but he should have buried it.

When Palace should have taken the lead, United finally did. Fred's curling effort from the edge of the 18-yard box beat Guaita and Old Trafford erupted for the first goal of the Rangnick era. 

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It is now back-to-back wins for United, which is the first time that has happened since Ronaldo joined in September.