Man United: Ralf Rangnick's men lost the ball a record-breaking 168 times against Newcastle

Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes struggled for Man Utd on Monday

It had all started so well for Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United.

Successive 1-0 league wins against Crystal Palace and Norwich appeared to have settled the ship at Old Trafford after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure, and given fans renewed hope that a top four finish was still possible this season.

After over two weeks without playing due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the club’s training ground, many supporters will have been looking forward to seeing if the Red Devils could kick on again under the German coach against Newcastle on Monday.

They couldn’t. In fact, this was a big step backwards as Eddie Howe’s Newcastle created numerous opportunities to win the match and were left ruing missed chances, with United somehow escaping St James’ Park with a 1-1 draw. 

It was a disjointed performance from United from the outset, and one word could be used to describe their showing: sloppy.

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In total, Rangnick’s men gave the ball away 168 times during the game, according to BBC journalist Bill Rice. The Athletic had the figure down at 167, but this is still the most times a team have given up possession in a Premier League match this term.

The chief culprit on the night was Bruno Fernandes, who surrendered possession on 26 occasions. Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville criticised the Portuguese playmaker’s body language on Monday Night Football, and it seems that some of Fernandes’ frustration may have been due to his own display.

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Raphael Varane also had an uncomfortable evening on his return to the side as he lost the ball 11 times, including in the build-up to Newcastle’s goal in the early stages of the game.

Meanwhile, Jadon Sancho, Fred and Mason Greenwood all only played a half each, yet still managed to gift possession to the opposition a combined total of 32 times.

It was a very difficult 90 minutes for United, and one that will perhaps highlight to Rangnick exactly how big a job he has on his hands.

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His side just about got away with it by claiming a point on Tyneside, but if they continue to lose the ball so frequently in the coming weeks, they may not be so lucky. 

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