Ralf Rangnick always had the solution to two Manchester United problems – Liam Wood

You would only need to take one look outside the Carrington training complex to see that Manchester United are in dire straits at the moment. Meanwhile, a glimpse into their training complex would explain why their top four dwindling prospects hang on something less substantial than the proverbial wire.

It was supposed to be so different. After finishing second to Manchester City last season, United welcomed Cristiano Ronaldo to Old Trafford as his sensational return was followed by eye-catching offers for Jadon Sancho and World Cup winner Raphael Varane.

Sancho and Varane each addressed problematic positions for then-United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Naturally, it was Ronaldo who took center stage in his second act and, while not ignoring public opinion on the Glazers, ‘Viva Ronaldo’ provided the soundtrack to the early optimism out of season and momentarily drowned out protests against these much-maligned American owners. . They are audible, again, perhaps to a whole new degree.

READ MORE: Erik ten Hag gives straightforward update on future amid Manchester United ‘congratulations’

Re-signing Ronaldo was the distraction they needed following jaw-dropping and, thankfully, short-lived European Super League (ESL) proposals that they were truly at the forefront of. This just turned out to be the tip of the iceberg when it came to Glazer’s “popularity”.

Supporters have already renewed their stance in Carrington and further protests are set to take place at the iconic Old Trafford home, which is set to be upgraded. This impending work, fans would say, needs to be replicated in the boardroom and on the playing field.

Change is on the horizon for United as Erik ten Hag appears to be the chosen man to get things done. Patience and time will be needed in his case to help plans and a footballing vision for the club.

In the short term, however, caretaker manager Ralf Rangnick faces an uphill battle to ensure a smoother transition initially. However, no matter how United fare by the end of the season, they are nowhere near pole position for Champions League qualification.

Sworn to stabilize the ship, matters beyond Rangnick are beyond his purview. However, the reservation of a place in the marquee of the European competition was. It continues to slide further and further and, while the poor start was clearly due to Solskjaer and his players, Rangnick has continually ignored a possible short-term solution – and he must take responsibility for it.

Jesse Lingard has played just 199 minutes during the Premier League campaign.

His stance on Paul Pogba was striking. Fully understanding that Pogba has one foot if not both out of the gate – and has been for some time – Rangnick has continued to give him playing time with the intention of cementing a goal from which he will have no part to benefit.

So why was Jesse Lingard not subjected to this same platform? The insistence on playing Pogba comes from his vast ability and the fact that United aren’t exactly provided with high-quality options in central midfield. Lingard has, in this sense, been hit hard by given selection and form issues in the attacking quarters.

It’s borderline criminal that a player who totaled nine goals and five assists in 16 appearances for West Ham while on loan last season has received just 199 Premier League minutes this term. . Lingard’s willingness to work for his teammates, to press and produce smart runs and touches was as sorely missed as this personality he possesses.

At a time when United lacked character, clarity or identity in their game, Rangnick overlooked a man who could help address the above concerns. It’s not too late for one last hurray, but with just one campaign start, you wonder how many more times Lingard will still be able to don that beloved red shirt.

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