Ronaldo was ruled out with a hip injury as Manchester United were beaten by Manchester City, but Guardiola had an interesting insight into the impact of the superstar’s absence
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Ronaldo was absent from the derby after suffering a hip flexor injury in training and United were desperately poor without him Gary Neville went so far as to accuse them of giving up.
Without the Portuguese superstar, Rangnick opted for a 4-2-2-2 formation with Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes occupy attack positions.
Sancho equalized for United before City’s visitors were blown away and their offensive display was particularly poor in the second half when they failed to attempt a goal.
WILL YOU PARTICIPATE! Did Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence help Manchester United lose to Manchester City? Comment below.
Despite the Red Devils’ struggles in the derby, there were questions about Ronaldo’s suitability to play under Rangnick.
Rangnick is known as one of the architects of the modern pressing game, although Ronaldo seems unsuited to pressing from the front as a striker is expected to in this system.
United’s interim boss himself has hinted at concerns about Ronaldo, even shortly after taking the job.
“It’s not just the back four or the two sixes or the goalkeeper, the whole team has to defend together as a team,” said Rangnick in December.
“It’s about taking the next steps. It’s easier to take these steps when you’re winning games.
“It was the third win in a row this season and the second without conceding a goal. We can build on that.
“In defence, full-backs, central defenders and two sixes did very well. Now we have to try to increase the level of play we play against the ball.”
Rangnick has now received the perhaps unwelcome support of Guardiola with those concerns following United’s beating at City.
The Spaniard admitted his surprise at United’s approach to the game and hinted that Ronaldo’s absence made life easier for his counterpart.
“We didn’t know how them [United] wanted to defend, they went 4-2-4 and without Ronaldo they were very aggressive,” he said.
“We struggled to deal with it. We had more possession and chances in the second half, and we played really well in the first half.
“It was so aggressive, the mentality for Ralf. Without Cristiano [Ronaldo] You can do it.”
Guardiola also expressed his belief that United’s problems in the second half were the result of their intense pressing before the break.
“Good win, good game, especially in the second half. The first half her [United] had more energy,” he added.
“In the second half they struggled to put pressure because of the first ones, there was just one rhythm we had to do, we played a little more down the left flank and we were better in the second half, more comfortable.”
Rangnick could be given more opportunities to experiment without Ronaldo, with the German admitting after the defeat he had no prediction as to when the Portuguese star would be fit again.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/man-utd-ronaldo-pep-guardiola-26401071 Pep Guardiola agrees with Ralf Rangnick over Man Utd's Cristiano Ronaldo fears