Ralf Rangnick insists half-time team talks aren’t the reason behind Manchester United’s second-half struggles

The German dismissed the suggestion his instructions are to blame for the side’s slump after the interval.

Ralf Rangnick has rejected the notion that his half-time team talks are to blame for Manchester United’s recent second-half struggles.

The Red Devils have led 1-0 at the break in all of their last three games, but ultimately allowed the victories to slip through their fingers and drew 1-1.

The draw with Southampton on Saturday followed the exact pattern as the previous ties against Middlesbrough and Burnley, where United started well but their levels declined as the match continued.

Despite that, Rangnick said their poor performances in the second half are not to do with his instructions during the interval.

Rangnick does not feel his instructions are too complicated or detailed. Credit: Getty.

“I can assure you that we are not talking too much,” the 63-year-old responded to a question in his post-match press conference.

“Our half-time team talks last as long as almost all the other teams. It’s four or five minutes; it’s the bullet points, we show them two or three video situations. This is definitely not a problem from the half-time conversation we are having.”

Rangnick moved on to explain what he feels are the two main problems with United at present: “As I say, with a lot of technical players, offensive players, for them it is difficult to stay more compact for a longer period of time, for the whole game.

“That is one of our problems and the other is that we do not take enough advantage of the chances we create. Again, today we had a goal ratio of 2.57 against 0.57 of Southampton.

It was another frustrating afternoon for United against Southampton. Credit: Getty.

“Even in the last 20 minutes we had some massive chances, Harry Maguire had two of them, Cristiano [Ronaldo] had three or four good chances throughout the game. It’s not a case of not being able to create the chances, it’s a question of not being effective enough.”

Offensive players struggling to defend

Like against Middlesbrough and Burnley, United once again conceded at the start of the second half following an opposition counter-attack.

Asked to explain this issue, Rangnick admitted his attack-minded players are struggling to pull their weight defensively.

“We were fully aware after the last few games that it would be important to be as compact as we can be and be as proactive as we can be, especially in the transitional moments that Southampton are very good at,” Rangnick said via video link.

“Then after two minutes [after half-time] exactly that happened again. We were in possession in and around their box and then 10 seconds later we conceded a goal.

“Again, if I see the goal today, like we conceded against Burnley, it’s just too easy. It was not even difficult for Burnley and today Southampton, to score these goals,” the German continued.

“Against Middlesbrough it was similar. If you are being counter-attacked this is also a question of tactical discipline and just not letting the players get past you.”