Neville reveals ‘massive’ difference in Man Utd display highlighted by stat

Gary Neville says Manchester United worked “smarter” in their first game under the tutelage of Ralf Rangnick and believes the win over Crystal Palace will prove to be “a good foundation to build from”.

Speaking on Monday Night Football, Neville believes Rangnick, 63, brought some order to United’s play. Fred scored the goal for United as they recorded their first clean sheet for 16 games with a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford. Not only did they manage a shut-out but they also marked the German’s first game at the helm with some other impressive stats.

They only conceded eight shots against Palace, with just two on target, while their expected goals against dropped from 1.6 per game to just less than one goal per game against Patrick Vieira’ men.

United also won back possession of the ball 12 times in the final third of the pitch. That was a high for not only the club this season, but since Opta records began.

Neville says the tempo United set from the off was very good.

“I really enjoyed the game,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“Was it flamboyant football? Were Manchester United at their absolute best in their last hour? It was a struggle at times. The first half an hour they were absolutely fantastic. The last hour they got the job done.

“I came out immediately after the game thinking what a great 30 minutes that was. That is what we want to see from Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United. That is what the Manchester United players will want to see. In the last hour they just got over the line. They tired a bit.

“But I actually sat down today and I respected the last hour more than the first 30. He had 48 hours to coach his team, 48 hours to be with his players.

“We have all spent the last six or seven weeks saying that Manchester United have been a mess defensively. They had not had a clean sheet in 16 games, conceding goals like you would not believe, getting battered at home by Liverpool and Man City, counter-attacked against Leicester, Villa, Villarreal. All the other teams had cut through them.

“What Ralf Rangnick would have wanted was order. Order in the performance. I think we got that.

“Manchester United had conceded an average of…

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