United boss Ralf Rangnick who at the stand to watch the Red Devils narrowly beat Arsenal 3-2 on Thursday at Old Trafford finally took charge of the team with another slim win against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The 63-year-old German who was at Old Trafford’s touchline for the first time started on a bright side as he witnessed United narrowly beat Crystal Palace 1-0 with effort from an unlikely hero with Fred’s 77 minutes sublime effort into the top corner proving enough to hand Rangnick all three points in his first assignment.
The Red Devils had been the dominant force in the game, clearly taking up a new style of play under the German, pressing higher up the pitch and much more effectively than anything they have shown in recent months.
However, they were lacking a cutting edge and struggled to create good opportunities, with Palace going from surviving in the first half, to fancying their chances of an upset in the second period
But just as Palace appear to be heading back to Selhurst Park with a draw, the Brazilian had another thing on his mind as curled a superb shot from the edge of the box laid by substitute Mason Greenwood to guide United to an important victory.
Amazingly, United looked like a very different team from the start of the match, with Rangnick clearly getting his philosophy into the players after just one training session with the squad.
There was far more pressing than had been seen before the German arrived, with the Red Devils doing their best to win the ball back in the opponent’s half, with Cristiano Ronaldo getting involved and Marcus Rashford doing much more closing down than we have seen from him this season so far
The Old Trafford faithful were enjoyed the higher energy and faster pace in the opening stanza, but there was not a great deal by way of clear chances for their side, or indeed the visitors.
Ronaldo sent a couple of early efforts wide, Fernandes forced a save from Vicente Guaita midway into the half and Diogo Dalot had a wayward effort just before half-time as an impressive performance didn’t yield anything for Rangnick’s men.
The home side continued to dominate possession in the second half but did not really look any more dangerous as the afternoon wound on and things became more gloomy at Old Trafford.
Mason Greenwood replaced Jadon Sancho just after the hour mark but after that it was Palace who started to look a bit more confident than United as they sensed the possibility of snatching a shock win.
The best chance of the contest then fell to the Eagles with 15 minutes to play as Jordan Ayew sent a shot wide from only a couple of yards out after James Tomkins headed a ball down from a corner.
However, just as things were looking a bit dodgy for the new boss, quite out of nowhere, Fred opened the scoring with a superb finish and brought a fist pump out of his manager.
Greenwood laid the ball to the Brazilian on the edge of the penalty area and he curled in an excellent effort over the goalkeeper and into the far top corner to light up Old Trafford.
The Brazilian’s goal was the only one of the game with Palace unable to bounce back from the disappointment of conceding, although they did put United under some pressure with late corners testing out the home side’s defence.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo played the full 90 minutes in his first match under Rangnick, after there had been questions raised over whether the German would fancy the veteran in his new high pressing system.