Manchester United snuck past a defensively compact Crystal Palace 1-0 in Ralf Rangnick’s first game at Old Trafford.
In a game full of buzz and anticipation, the Red Devils were the brighter of the two sides, springing out of the blocks with a new-look counter-pressing approach in a 4-2-2-2 formation, going after their opponents high and winning possession early.
Chances were scarce, however, as half-time chances for Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes went begging, while Alex Telles struck the top of the crossbar with a fizzed free kick just shy of midway through the second half.
Rangnick had the last laugh: Fred, a divisive name throughout the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era, was trusted in the engine room by the new manager, and the Brazilian curled a right-footed effort into the top corner on 77 minutes to send the home fans into raptures and devastate Vieira, who would have felt that his side’s defensive resilience had been blasted.
It wasn’t quite the perfect performance, but it was a great start for the new boss as United embark on an exciting run of games in which Rangnick can really get his teeth into his new team.