Paul Ince highlights Ralf Rangnick tactic tweak which has helped Cristiano Ronaldo at Man United

Paul Ince has congratulated Ralf Rangnick for his tactics to accommodate Cristiano Ronaldo and keep the Manchester United talisman fresh.

Much was made about how Ronaldo would fit into Rangnick’s system given that the German’s preference to press aggressively from the front.

Dubbed the ‘godfather of gegenpressing,’ United’s interim manager introduced a more organised system in his first game in charge, a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon, with two focal points in attack.

United looked a lot more in control and organised, forcing Palace back and hurried them when on the ball, as Marcus Rashford partnered Ronaldo up top.

It was a clear difference to how the Red Devils looked under former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

A major talking point prior to the 63-year-old’s arrival was over Ronaldo’s need to press or if his spot would be under threat from a team-mate more willing to fulfil Rangnick’s instructions.

In the end, Rangnick made clear Ronaldo’s importance and has accommodated the star and Ince has pointed out how the new man did it.

“Listen, let’s put this right. Ronaldo is one of the greatest players to grace a football pitch and if it wasn’t for him Man United wouldn’t be where they are in the table or in the Champions League,” Ince told the Mirror.

“He’s been the main man, he’s scored the important goals. We need to get away from this ‘Ronaldo pressing here, Ronaldo pressing there’.

“Ronaldo is 36 years of age, he still has a great physique but you can’t ask him to press from one centre-half to another. If he did that when he gets the ball, he would be too knackered to do anything.

“What Rangnick has done, he’s made the team compact so when they are pressing, they’ve put some alongside Ronaldo like [Marcus] Rashford. Ronaldo can press five, ten yards. He’s not asking Ronaldo to press 20, 30 yards.

“What you saw at the weekend is he could do that. As long as the team is compact and press together then that will suit Ronaldo.

“But what they were doing previously to that were pressing as individuals from 20 or 30 yards and they were never getting there.

“You can’t ask Ronaldo to do that. You want him to be fresh, he is the main man and the one scoring goals. With [Edinson] Cavani out, they are struggling to score goals so they need that. You need to keep him fit.

“Yes, Rangnick has a pressing philosophy that he’s used wherever he has been. But he now has the best player in the world. Ronaldo doesn’t want to spend 90 minutes pressing. They need to find a solution where they press as a team and when they win it, they get it to Ronaldo’s feet and let him do what he wants to do.

“If you ask Ronaldo to press for five or 10 yards, he will do that. If you ask him to press 20, 30 yards, that’s not for him, unfortunately.

“They will work together, they’re gonna have to work together. What we saw against Palace is that Ronaldo is prepared to take on board what Rangnick wants. But he also understands that Ronaldo is 36 and he can’t be pressing all the time. They’ll figure it out.”

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