Two back-to-back wins brought Manchester United’s season to life – The Athletic

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Manchester United have suffered just one defeat in 13 games since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked. Eight of those matches were also wins and if United had had to push for a win in dead rubber against Young Boys playing a more senior side, it could have been nine. These stats come as a surprise, given how poor United’s play is, but it shows that Ralf Rangnick knows results matter more than anything else to him right now.

United’s caretaker manager can prophesy all he wants, but he will be judged on results for now. Saturday’s 1-0 win over West Ham was unconvincing, but the way the late winner celebrated with slips and a passion for the fist (and that was just Edinson Cavani) in front of a Stretford End rebounding smothered everything else: United jumped from seventh into the top four for the first time since October 2. Securing a Champions League spot is the German’s target for this season, a goal for which he will receive a bonus if achieved.

The stats, however, can be a double-edged sword – had Marcus Rashford not scored, it would have been a league win in four for Rangnick.

Michael Carrick was in charge of the first three of those 13 games, where he presided over impressive performances against European champions Chelsea, Villarreal away and Arsenal at home. Carrick stabilized a side that had lost five of their previous seven league games, a run that sealed Solskjaer’s fate.

Rangnick’s fixture list has also forgiven: Palace, Norwich, Newcastle, Burnley, Wolves, Villa, Brentford and West Ham for his first eight games. His next eight start similarly with Burnley, Southampton, Leeds and Watford before a tough streak of Manchester City, Spurs, Liverpool and Leicester. In between, there will be two matches against Spanish champions Atletico Madrid. Like United, Atletico were unconvincing.

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