Ralf Rangnick has turned to his sports psychologist Sascha Lense to try to rebuild Manchester United’s confidence and end their mind-losing habits. United have drawn 1-1 in their last three games, all after scoring the first and having a break advantage, resulting in the loss of four points and their elimination from the FA Cup. During Rangnick’s brief reign, they drew five times after coming in front and the caretaker manager admitted their conviction had suffered.
He brought in Lense, who had worked with him at RB Leipzig, to address the mental side of the game and turned to an old ally to address his players, individually and as a team, in a bid to make United more resistant.
Rangnick said: “In 11 of the 13 games since I arrived we scored the first goal and were leading 1-0, but we only won half. When you go 1-0 in three consecutive games, concede an equaliser, it affects the mood of the players. They say: “We should have been 3-0 or 4-0 and all of a sudden it’s 1-1.” If we concede at the start of the second half, it affects the confidence of the players. They are human beings, not robots.
“I spoke to Sascha and we speak about it regularly. The only thing we can do is speak to the players, one by one, to the group and to the whole team.
“Firstly we need to be more efficient to score a second and third goal and just kill a game. But if that doesn’t happen, stick to the game plan, stay strong, stay tactically disciplined. I’m watching all those goals we conceded in the second half and it was just too easy.
United face Brighton in the Premier League on Tuesday night and Rangnick’s struggles to ensure his side maintain their bright starts reflects their struggles to play his favorite brand of football, which he admitted does not come easily to them. . “We are not a natural born pressing team with a lot of players in their DNA to press all the time,” he said.
Harry Maguire, guilty of Burnley’s equalizer last week, is having to adjust to a higher defensive line but Rangnick has ruled out taking the armbar away from him. “He’s our captain and I see no reason to change that,” he said.
Jadon Sancho, who has never scored under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, has scored twice in his last three appearances and Rangnick, who likened his slow start to Robert Lewandowski’s disappointing first year for Borussia Dortmund, believes the winger benefits from his game plan.
“The step to a club like Manchester United was important for anyone,” he said. “At 20 it was a huge, huge step. That it takes time is normal. The style of football we want to play fits perfectly with his strengths and his strengths coming from the left side. The fact that he scores goals and providing assists helps boost his confidence, I’m pretty sure Jadon is now on the right path, realizing that he can be one of the best wingers in the Premier League.