Manchester United: Ralf Rangnick should play three at the back vs Man City, says Silvestre

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Mikael Silvestre calls on Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick to be ‘realistic’ and COPY predecessor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by playing three at the back in this weekend’s derby against Man City

  • Manchester United take on Manchester City in the Premier League this weekend
  • It will be one of Ralf Rangnick’s toughest tests as United’s interim manager
  • Ex-United defender Mikael Silvestre wants Rangnick to play three centre backs
  • United never lost a league match away at Man City under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 

Ralf Rangnick is being urged by former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre to take a leaf from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s book ahead of a derby trip to Man City this weekend. 

Solskjaer, who was sacked back in November, never lost a league match away at City during his time in charge and drew plenty of plaudits for the way his teams nullified Pep Guardiola’s star-studded team at the Etihad Stadium.

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Ahead of Rangnick’s first experience of a derby at the Etihad, Silvestre believes the German should copy Solskjaer by adopting a back-three system in a bid to combat the attacking juggernaut that is Guardiola’s City.

Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick has been urged to play a back three this week

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) often used it away to Man City and he never lost on those visits

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) often used it away to Man City and he never lost on those visits

Rangnick has leaned heavily on a 4-2-3-1 system which has seen Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane rotated for the two centre back spots. 

For Silvestre, Sunday’s trip to the Etihad should see all three selected.   

‘Let’s face it, City will control the game most of the time and I think we should be realistic,’ he told betting expert, via the Manchester Evening News.

‘The times where we’ve been able to stop City in the last few years, to take points and to win, is when we played five at the back.

‘When Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were high up. It is either three at the back or five in midfield, you can put it various ways. 

Varane and Lindelof started together for the 0-0 draw with Watford

Maguire's future is going to be under the microscope come the end of the season

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Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof (both left) and Harry Maguire (right) are centre back options

‘But to limit City’s ball control and be able to break the lines going forward, I would go with the back three to begin with.’

Nineteen points separate United, in fourth, and league leaders City heading into Sunday’s blockbuster derby meeting. 

Maguire was rested for the 0-0 draw with Watford last time out in the league and Sportsmail revealed on Thursday that his future will be under the microscope this summer as United eye a world-class centre back.

But the captain can do plenty to defy his critics with a herculean display in the derby, should he be restored to the line-up.

For Rangnick, who has focused on making United more dynamic in attack, his focus is on going to City and boldly trying to control the contest. 

Rangnick is keen to control the game at City and could switch to a back-three to achieve that

Rangnick is keen to control the game at City and could switch to a back-three to achieve that

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The German said on Friday: ‘It is about controlling the game, not letting them have the ball without pressure.   

‘They are looking for overloads of half spaces. It is about finding moments we can take the ball away from them and then taking advantage.’

He added: ‘We know that we are playing one of, if not the best team in the world. 

‘They have developed well since Pep (Guardiola) arrived. The same happened at Bayern Munich and Barcelona. He is one of the best. We know what they are all about.’


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