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Have Manchester United lost the respect of their rivals?  Ralph Hasenhuttl is not the first to publicly denounce tactics under Ralf Rangnick, as Premier League bosses share common knowledge of Red Devils weaknesses


It’s football’s worst-kept secret: Manchester United players don’t really follow.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl made that quite clear when dissecting his side’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Saturday.

AFP

Hasenhuttl Saints had nothing to fear at Old Trafford

“It’s no big secret that when they lose the ball, the running backs aren’t everyone’s best,” Hasenhuttl said.

“Then you have the chance to create something and we did.

“The pressing for them was good at the start but they’re not used to doing it more than 30 or 40 minutes, we came into the game after that.”

Hasenhuttl’s comments call into question Rangnick’s players’ commitment and desire to do the dirty work, which is bad enough.

Rangnick, himself, told talkSPORT that his underachieving superstars needed to get more “nasty” and improve as they raced towards their own goal.

This can, and probably will, be settled on the training ground. But Hasenhuttl’s words mean something much more than just a tactical problem: they show a complete lack of respect for Man United.

Have Manchester United lost the respect of their rivals?  Ralph Hasenhuttl is not the first to publicly denounce tactics under Ralf Rangnick, as Premier League bosses share common knowledge of Red Devils weaknesses

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A lot has changed since Ronaldo’s first spell at the club

Once feared as one of the most intimidating clubs in world football, opposing sides now see the Red Devils’ physical weakness – and attack them as equals, if not inferiors.

It’s so obvious they’re ready to shout it too.

Indeed, former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan believes United have lost the respect of opposing teams in the Premier League.

“There’s no fear of Manchester United, let’s go,” Jordan told talkSPORT. “Whatever fear there was and whatever respect other teams had for Man United, especially at Old Trafford, has gone. He does not exist anymore.

“Teams are quite comfortable trying out Man United, especially this United who are clearly in transition.

“They have an inordinate amount of quality in the team but they lack character. They also lack the ability to do certain things, which is now the stable regime of the best teams – playing with intensity, playing with a urgent scenario.

Have Manchester United lost the respect of their rivals?  Ralph Hasenhuttl is not the first to publicly denounce tactics under Ralf Rangnick, as Premier League bosses share common knowledge of Red Devils weaknesses

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United players have been questioned for their work off the ball

“It’s universally accepted that we don’t look at Manchester United ten years ago, we look at Man United today. So we have to compare it to what it really is and we say ‘this group of players’, but we talking about price tags, not genuine quality.

He is right. It’s not just Hasenhuttl. Other managers swept away United’s tactics, which rarely happened under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Speaking after Wolves’ 1-0 win at Old Trafford, Bruno Lage said: “If you’re looking for the first half when they’re defending, they tried to work.

“Cavani tried to control Ruben [Neves], Ronaldo tried to control Coady and the wingers inside. The space is outside.

“That’s why Nelson and Marcal, in the first half, have a lot of chances and a lot of the ball.

“Boys find these spaces. That’s why it’s so important to understand that, first of all, when you have the ball, where are the spaces?

Have Manchester United lost the respect of their rivals?  Ralph Hasenhuttl is not the first to publicly denounce tactics under Ralf Rangnick, as Premier League bosses share common knowledge of Red Devils weaknesses

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Joao Moutinho beat United at Old Trafford in January

“When we defend, Trincao and Podence understand that when the full-backs are in front of them, or if they leave, they’re not your man and you control the space inside.”

Meanwhile, it was clear to see what Brentford boss Thomas Frank thought of Rangnick’s Red Devils in the 3-1 loss to the Bees.

Frank said: “Incredibly proud of my team. We are the smallest club in the Premier League, Manchester United the biggest.

“We destroyed them in the first half, they didn’t have a sniff, three huge chances and there could only be one winner in this game.

“They’re incredibly lucky. I know all about risk taking. They changed the system against little Brentford.

“One of these nights, fair play to David de Gea, if we get those chances again one will go into the back of the net. Our intensity killed them, we showed that in the first half, we were playing the Brentford way.

“Of the three goals, the second is the most disappointing and the most difficult to recover from. The way we crushed them in the first half was fantastic, so proud of my team.

It takes a lot to earn respect, so Manchester United will have to work hard to recoup what they have lost.

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