Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United revolution is still in its infancy, but the fans who streamed away from Old Trafford, having watched the German’s managerial reign begin with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, will have done so convinced of what his team is supposed to look like.
For Rangnick, 63, the most important statistic from his first game as a manager in more than two-and-a-half years was that United scored and Crystal Palace did not, but it was telling that his team won the ball in the attacking third of the pitch 12 times, an increase of five on any other game this season.
Having pointed out at his first news conference on Friday that United have conceded too many goals this season (24 in 14 Premier League games ahead of Sunday), Rangnick can also be pleased that a first home clean sheet since April was registered.
And so, while there is work to do, the new man in charge will take any positive he can after being parachuted into the job during the most hectic time of the season; this game was the second of six in a 13-day period for United.
The decisive moment took some time to arrive, but Fred’s 77th-minute goal — just the Brazilian midfielder’s sixth in 137 games for the club — secured a win that sees United move up to sixth.