Five things Rangnick got wrong as Man Utd thumped by Man City in derby disaster
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Manchester United slumped to a disappointing 4-1 defeat against Manchester City to leave their top-four hopes hanging by a thread.
Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez bagged a brace apiece to put a severe dent in United's Champions League aspirations on a sobering afternoon at the Etihad.
United were carved open after just five minutes, with De Bruyne finding space in the box to fire the hosts into an early lead.
But United fired back through Jadon Sancho, who finished a slick, sweeping move in style.
Unfortunately for Ralf Rangnick's side, that parity only lasted five minutes before De Bruyne was left in acres of space to stab home his second goal of the afternoon.
And Mahrez killed the game off in the 69th minute by volleying home a sensational strike before netting again in added time.
Daily Star Sport looks at the big calls Rangnick got wrong on a disappointing afternoon at the Etihad…
Five things he got wrong…
Melts in the middle
Despite loading his team with central midfielders, Rangnick could only watch as De Bruyne dominated the derby.
City's Belgian maestro was afforded all the time and space in the world to pick his spot inside United's penalty area for both of his goals.
United couldn't cope with his movement and passing – but they did little to try and stop him.
Scott McTominay and Fred failed to get anywhere near the City playmaker, who ran rings around City's bitter rivals.
And it was ultimately United's soft centre that scuppered their hopes of taking anything from Sunday's showdown.
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No focal point
Rangnick rolled the dice by opting against selecting a traditional striker for the crunch clash – and it was a gamble that failed to pay off.
While United's 4-2-2-2 shape caused Manchester City some problems, City quickly sussed out how to stifle United's new-look approach.
It was always going to be a big ask for Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba to lead the line in Rangnick's preferred shape, and they didn't exactly disgrace themselves.
But it felt at times like United were lacking the focal point they required to ask real questions of City's rearguard – particularly in the absence of Ruben Dias.
As Gary Neville alluded to before the match, much of United's recent success at the Etihad has come as a result of slick, counter-attacking play.
His point was further emphasised by Sancho's stunning goal.
So it was a baffling decision for Rangnick to shun Rashford, who had the pace to really hurt Manchester City on the counter.
The fact that Rashford can't get into this United side ahead of the likes of Anthony Elanga with names such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani missing is a massive problem.
And it represents the remarkable fall from grace he's suffered over the past few months.
Keeping faith with Maguire
It's been a rotten campaign for Harry Maguire, and the United captain endured another rough afternoon against City.
The £80million man failed to cover himself in glory for either of De Bruyne's goals and struggled to provide the leadership and organisation that United desperately needed to stand any chance of pinching a result against their noisy neighbours.
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In fairness to Rangnick, Raphael Varane's absence left him devoid of options at the back for the big game.
But it was always going to be a massacre going up against City with Maguire in such calamitous form.
He was tormented from start to finish – and Rangnick needs to seriously consider putting the United captain out of his misery by ditching him when Varane is back.
Hauling Pogba off
With Manchester United desperately needing a moment of magic to get back into the game at 2-1, it was a strange decision to withdraw Pogba.
The divisive Frenchman hardly had his best game for the Red Devils, but he played a part in United's goal and seemed their best bet to conjure up an opening on the break.
Fernandes has so often been United's saviour when they've found themselves up against it over the past couple of seasons.
But Rangnick would have been better served by sacrificing him rather than Pogba at the Etihad.
- Manchester United FC
- Manchester City FC
- Premier League
- Ralf Rangnick
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