Ralf Rangnick heaped praise on Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood after Manchester United returned to winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Burnley, giving Bruno Fernandes cause for concern.
Scott McTominay and Cristiano Ronaldo stole the show against the Clarets with a goal and an assist apiece, while Sancho created United’s second with a strike which deflected in via Ben Mee.
Despite the scoreline, Burnley did not let their heads drop and Aaron Lennon pulled one back before half-time with a fine effort which nestled in the far corner.
However, Sean Dyche’s side were unable to capitalise on their chances after the interval and United saw out the match with relative ease to go sixth in the Premier League and make it three wins in four top-flight games under Rangnick.
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Fernandes has been ever-present for the Red Devils since his arrival in January 2020 but was unavailable to face Burnley due to a yellow-card suspension.
In his absence, United produced their most-fluent attacking performance since Rangnick took over, and the interim manager’s comments after the match suggest the Portuguese playmaker may have a fight on his hands to get back into the starting XI.
“As expected it was a very tough physical game against a team who play very physical. We also showed the qualities we have in our team,” Rangnick told Amazon Prime Video.
“It was important today to raise the energy level. The whole team performance was a lot better, I was pleased with the performances of our wingers – Jadon did well.
“Mason, Eddie (Edinson Cavani) and Cristiano, the work effort was amazing.”
As Rangnick likes to line up with a 4-2-2-2 formation, there are many players competing for two spots in the wide attacking midfield roles, whereas Fernandes is viewed as a more traditional No.10.
The 27-year-old will be available to face Wolves on Monday as United look to continue their charge towards to the top four.
“I wouldn’t say fourth is the minimum,” Rangnick added. “It is about taking next development steps. Now eight games in a row without a defeat. It is about taking next steps.”
The German was also quizzed on United’s plans for the January window but insisted he has not given transfers considerable thought as of yet.
“My focus is on the current players and we have enough players in the squad,” Rangnick said.
“Transfers in the winter only make sense if they increase the quality. So far we haven’t spoken about that.”