Ralf Rangnick's observation vs Aston Villa hints Man Utd boss has found winning system
Ralf Rangnick has spoken about the need to "control" games at Manchester United and may have found that with a diamond formation.
Scott McTominay's first-half header led the Red Devils to a much needed win following a defeat last time out.
Rangnick has employed a 4-2-2-2 formation since arriving, which has already faced its critics.
United have been unable to control many games under their interim coach as performances remain below par.
The German switched things up on Monday night though and found that his side had more authority.
He said: "In the second half we were on the counter attack and we could have made more of those situations.
"We took the wrong decisions at times but when we changed to a diamond in midfield we had more control."
Donny van de Beek emerged from the bench for the final quarter of the game, replacing Edinson Cavani.
The Dutchman's opportunities have been at a premium but he formed a midfield four alongside Fred, McTominay and Bruno Fernandes.
Rangnick is still trying to piece together his best system with the plethora of players he has at his disposal.
The final part of their Villa win may have provided him with optimism though going forward.
He added: "In the last 20 minutes we had more control. We fought well as a team together when it was important. In the end it was a good win. That was our goal, to proceed to the next round."
United will host Championship side Middlesbrough in the fourth round, again at Old Trafford.
The FA Cup provides the Red Devils with their best chance of silverware this term as they aim to end a five-year trophy drought.
An immediate concern for Rangnick will be the performances and demeanour of Marcus Rashford.
The striker looks far from his best and felt the frustration of the home crowd on occasion against Villa.
Rangnick appeared at a loss when it came to the reason's for his striker's below par form.
"Actually I don't know," he confessed.
"I think he's trying hard. In training he was doing well in the last couple of days, that's why he was quite rightly in the starting XI.
"I think in the first half we found him quite often, but we also tried to get him into the box. In the second half that was not that often the case and that's why at the end of the game I decided to make two changes with Anthony Elanga and Jesse Lingard."