Ralf Rangnick has demanded more from his Manchester United players and has called for increased intensity, physicality and energy from his side.
United face Aston Villa in the FA Cup’s third round this evening, looking to bounce back from last week’s disappointing home defeat to Wolves.
Rangnick’s side attracted criticism for a lacklustre showing in defeat and media reports have surfaced suggesting that the Red Devils’ squad are struggling to adapt to the demands of the interim manager.
The German is famed for his high-energy pressing principles and says his side must raise their physical levels to compete at the top end of the Premier League.
“This is the only way we can compete in this league and at that level,” he told his pre-match press conference.
“Whenever you watch games, even if it’s not the top teams, they play with intensity, they play with physicality, they play with energy and they sprint. This is what we have to do. We have to develop into this kind of team.
“As I said after the first game against Crystal Palace, we showed at least in the first half a lot of those things and it’s about implementing this into the team in a sustainable way. This is our job.
“We have to do it together with the players and we have, obviously, to develop the players, identify for each game, the players who are willing and able to do that and to deliver exactly what we spoke about.
“I think most of the players know what they have to do and we also speak to the players. We did it before the training session [on Friday] – what they have to do in each position and what their jobs are, offensively and defensively.
“I’ve only been here now for five weeks. Yes, the pressure is on at a club like Manchester United. I’m pretty sure that the players are aware of that.”
United have endured a mixed period since Rangnick’s appointment until the end of the season, but the manager is keen for his side to follow the blueprint set in home wins over Burnley and Crystal Palace as the club look for consistent results.
“In the end, it’s still about showing up when we play in front of 75,000 and we showed that against Burnley. We also showed it against Crystal Palace,” he said. “The team is able to dominate games, to win games. Both games against Burnley and Palace that was the case and this is exactly what we have to achieve in the next weeks to help the team develop into a dominating team. This can only be done in possession and out of possession if they do things together.”