Ralf Rangnick explains the key difference in Marcel Sabitzer since joining Man Utd

Joe Williams
Man Utd midfielder Marcel Sabitzer celebrates scoring a goal

Austria boss Ralf Rangnick insists that Marcel Sabitzer’s game has improved since moving from Bayern Munich to Man Utd in January.

The 29-year-old joined the Red Devils in the winter transfer window on loan until the end of the season after Erik ten Hag lost Christian Eriksen to a long-term injury.

And Sabitzer has impressed since making the move to England with the Austrian making nine appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal in the FA Cup.

Rangnick, who was Man Utd interim boss for most of last season, has seen an improvement in Sabitzer with the midfielder contributing two goals and an assist as Austria beat Azerbaijan 4-1  on Friday.

And Rangnick has been impressed by his development at Man Utd, he said: “He has a lot more confidence than when he was at Bayern.

“Nobody dropped out in this game, but of course you can say that Sabi was the difference player after scoring two goals and preparing one.”

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson was particularly critical of Man Utd for signing Sabitzer in January and called it a “panic” buy.

Merson said in February: “He doesn’t get in the Bayern Munich team. He’s way off that. Their two in midfield is cemented but if he was that good, he’d be pushing. So again it goes back to panic. There was no interest in him on January 1st. Now, it’s a panic buy.

“Eriksen has just got injured. It’s a panic. You’re buying fourth-choice Bayern Munich players. For me, I’m not sure about that. He doesn’t get into the Bayern Munich team.

“If I’m a Manchester United fan or a Chelsea fan, I’d be looking and going, he doesn’t get anywhere near Bayern’s first team. So if he’s not playing in their first team, why would we want him in our club? Is he going to make us better? Is there players there already who should be better than him? In my opinion, yes.”

But Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand defended the Austrian, he hit back: “I’m absolutely delighted. If I was to say that I could go and get as short-term replacement at the drop of a hat for Eriksen, Sabitzer is a player who you would have gone ‘ooh, If I can get him, I’ll take him’.

“I watched a hell of a lot of this player when he was at Leipzig in the Champions League, he was sensational. He was integral to everything they did there.

“Yeah, he’s gone to Bayern Munich and he hasn’t become a regular there, but I think he will be a really good signing. A really experienced player, he’s played in big games, he knows his way around a football pitch.

“That just stinks, for me, that Paul Merson hasn’t seen him play, wouldn’t know if he’s left or right-footed. You can’t say that he’s a bad signing because you don’t get signed by Bayern Munich if you’re a chump.

“Man United couldn’t have done any better, so well done to their recruitment team.”

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