Fred scored the only goal of the game as Manchester United defeated Crystal Palace 1-0 at Old Trafford on Ralf Rangnick’s managerial debut for the club.

Taking charge of his first game as Manchester United manager, Ralf Rangnick did not change the starting XI from the win against Arsenal but tweaked the formation, with the team set up in a 4-2-2-2 shape. And, despite having little time to work with the squad, his impact was palpable as the Red Devils looked much more intense and purposeful in their press, not allowing Crystal Palace to settle.

Manchester United kept Palace pegged back for most of the first half and created chances but could not convert them into goals. Alex Telles had a shot go over while Cristiano Ronaldo and Fred saw their efforts get blocked by defenders as the Eagles defended their box resolutely. At the same time, they did pose some threat on the counter, but there were no clear-cut opportunities for the visitors.

Manchester United could not maintain the same intensity and pressure after the break, though, while Palace failed to capitalise on it as chances came few and far between. Telles struck the top of the crossbar from a free-kick while Jordan Ayew saw an effort from point-blank range go just wide at the other end.

Just when it was starting to look like the spoils would be shared, Fred produced a moment of magic in the 77th minute, finding the top corner with a curling effort from his weaker right foot. Palace tried to push for a leveller, but the hosts saw out the game in a professional manner to kickstart the Ralf Rangnick era on a winning note.

The result also meant Manchester United moved up to sixth place in the Premier League table, while Patrick Vieira’s men have now suffered defeats in three games on the bounce. Here are our player ratings for both sets of stars after a closely fought encounter at Old Trafford.

Manchester United Player Ratings

David de Gea: 6/10

One of the quietest outings in recent memory for the Spaniard, who was hardly called into action by Crystal Palace on Sunday. David de Gea did not have to make any major saves on the afternoon and did just enough to put off Ayew leading to his missed strike in the second half.

Diogo Dalot: 7.5/10

The Portuguese right-back was given another start despite Aaron Wan-Bissaka returning from injury, and he made full use of the opportunity. Dalot provided a constant attacking outlet on the right side and hit in a few dangerous crosses while he came close to scoring one himself with a left-footed strike late in the first half.

The former FC Porto man was involved in the move leading to the winner while he also kept Wilfried Zaha quiet on his return to Old Trafford. He could keep Wan-Bissaka out of the side based on this performance.

Victor Lindelof: 7/10

It was a solid outing from Lindelof, who did not shy away from the physical battle against the Crystal Palace forwards and held his own at the back. Even with the ball at his feet, the Swede exhibited calmness and composure while playing forward passes to help start moves.

Harry Maguire: 7/10

The Manchester United captain also put in a solid shift at the heart of the defence, dealing with the threat of Christian Benteke with relative ease. Like Lindelof, he too made some good-looking forward passes to spark attacks. Maguire then came up with a huge headed clearance late on to secure the clean sheet and the win.

Alex Telles: 7/10

Like Dalot on the opposite flank, Telles, too, is making the most of his opportunities in the absence of Luke Shaw. The Brazilian left-back drove forward constantly and posed a threat with his crosses and set-piece deliveries. He even grazed the crossbar with a free kick in the second half. He wasn’t troubled a great deal defensively.

Scott McTominay: 5.5/10

The Scotsman offered bite and energy in midfield but lacked the quality to impact the proceedings when on the ball. McTominay will need to be more proactive and intelligent with his passing than he was on Sunday. He was booked late on for a rash challenge.

Fred: 8/10

The midfielder receives a lot of stick from the fans and the pundits but never lets it affect him and continues to work hard. It was yet another such industrious display from Fred, who led Manchester United’s press with great intensity, closing down opponents and making ball recoveries. He had a chance to open the scoring in the first half but saw his effort get blocked. The Brazilian then produced the moment of magic in the second half that won it for his team.

Bruno Fernandes: 6/10

Bruno Fernandes had some moments when he oozed quality and class, but there were also instances when he jumped the gun too early in an attempt to find a teammate and ended up giving away the ball. A lot of Manchester United’s attacks went through the Portuguese, but it is clear that he is still well below his best.

Jadon Sancho: 6/10

Playing as an inverted winger in Rangnick’s 4-2-2-2, Sancho seemed to be relishing the role, as he looked purposeful going forward and was a willing presser when not in possession. He almost forced a goal via a deflection and was generally a threat in the first half while also creating a chance for Rashford. His passing was a bit sloppy after the break, and he was the first player to be subbed off.

Marcus Rashford: 5/10

The Manchester United No. 10 looked dangerous when he made runs on the shoulders of the Palace defenders. However, more often than not, his decision-making was poor while he strayed offside a bit too much as well. Not nearly as impactful as he can be.

Cristiano Ronaldo: 6/10

The Portuguese maverick answered all the doubters about whether he could fit into Rangnick’s high-pressing system as he led Manchester United’s pressure from the front. He was involved in almost everything positive the team created in the first half and even had a couple of half-chances he could not put away. Nonetheless, it was a decent enough outing from Ronaldo.

SUBSTITUTES

Mason Greenwood: 7/10

The Manchester United academy graduate made his first appearance after recovering from Covid. After firing a wayward shot wide off the mark, Greenwood produced the assist for Fred’s goal with a well-weighted pass.

Anthony Elanga: N/A

The young Swede came on for Rashford with less than 15 minutes left. Offered energy in the final third.

Donny van de Beek: N/A

Late substitute for Bruno Fernandes.

Crystal Palace Player Ratings

Vicente Guaita: 6/10

The Eagles goalkeeper made a couple of decent stops to deny Ronaldo and Fernandes in the first period. He generally exuded good command inside his box amid waves of pressure from the home team. However, there was not much he could have done to stop Fred’s curler.

Nathaniel Clyne: 5/10

The ex-Liverpool star made his first appearance of the season, coming in for the suspended Joel Ward. Clyne looked clumsy and off the pace early on and was booked for a silly foul on Fred in the first period. He did recover well as the game wore on, but one could see that he hasn’t played at this level for a long time.

James Tomkins: 7/10

Starting again in the absence of Joachim Andersen, the veteran defender did well to keep Manchester United at bay under intense pressure in the first half. He produced a vital block to deny Fred a goal in the first half. Tomkins had a chance to score in the second period but couldn’t make it count.

Marc Guehi: 6.5/10

Like Tomkins, Guehi defended well in the face of some serious pressure from the hosts, producing a few key blocks to keep Ronaldo in check. The ex-Chelsea youngster continued his good work after the break as well, although he did pick up a booking for a poor challenge.

Tyrick Mitchell: 6.5/10

The 22-year-old left-back defended fairly well for the most part on the afternoon against the lively Dalot. He even got forward on a few occasions in the second half and delivered some teasing crosses, one of which led to Ayew’s missed chance.

Jeffrey Schlupp: 5.5/10

The ex-Leicester City star struggled to get a foothold in the game in the first half, allowing United to keep Palace pinned back for most of the opening 45. He did improve with time and helped out defensively, but it was a subpar display overall.

Cheikhou Kouyate: 5/10

The midfielder offered a physical presence in front of the back four and won his fair share of aerial duels. However, he was overawed by United’s press in the first half, giving away the ball cheaply at times, while he was also guilty of being out of position on occasions in the second period.

Conor Gallagher: 7/10

The Chelsea loanee looked the most threatening player for Crystal Palace on the rare occasions when they got on the ball and drove forward at Manchester United. However, such moments did not come as regularly as he or Vieira would have liked. He worked very hard off the ball as well, making several interventions over the course of the game.

Jordan Ayew: 6/10

The Ghanaian worked his socks off for the team, making forward runs while helping out at the back when needed. He had a great chance to put Palace in front in the second period but sent his effort narrowly wide. Immediately afterwards, Fred scored the winner for the home team.

Christian Benteke: 5/10

The Belgian could never get into the game and was well dealt with by the Manchester United defence. Apart from a half-chance in the first half, Benteke did not get much in the way of service and was taken off for Odsonne Edouard.

Wilfried Zaha: 5/10

Having scored a brace the last time he came to Old Trafford, Zaha did not have any such joy on Sunday. The Crystal Palace captain on the day provided a counterattacking outlet but was often cut out by the hosts’ defence before he could cause any problems. As a result, the Ivorian failed to create anything meaningful on the afternoon.

SUBSTITUTES

Odsonne Edouard: 5/10

The Frenchman came on for Benteke in the 66th minute. He held up the ball well at the top but did little of note.

Michael Olise: N/A

Late substitute for Ayew.

Eberechi Eze: N/A

Late substitute for Kouyate.

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