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Manchester United-Brentford Preview
Brentford boss Thomas Frank can understand the stress Ralf Rangnick is experiencing in his attempt to transform Manchester United midway through the season.
Rangnick has endured some rather mixed results since replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November, winning four, drawing three and losing one of his first eight games.
The German coach, who has been appointed until the end of the campaign, is attempting to instill a proactive and high-pressing system at Old Trafford.
There have been only small signs of that so far, but Frank - who took over Brentford's first team in October 2018 - believes that will change in the coming weeks.
"It's difficult, very difficult, especially for a club like Man United or playing European football. You're playing every third day," he said.
"It's impossible to get training sessions in and right principles in place. It's definitely easier if you have six weeks pre-season to really try to implement bits and pieces.
"Over time, hopefully he can build his vision and culture he wants into Man United so they can perform at the highest level.
"We know his philosophy in terms of pressing. He has tried to implement it. I don't think they've hit their highest level in terms of that. But they have unbelievable players."
Frank, who confirmed his side's interest in free agent Christian Eriksen, will come face-to-face with Rangnick at the Brentford Community Stadium on Wednesday.
United make the trip to west London on the back of a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa, a game in which they led 2-0 with 13 minutes of time remaining.
Despite dropping more points, Rangnick is confident United will come away from Brentford with victory if they can match their display from the first three quarters of the Villa match.
"The performance in the first 70 minutes was really good," he said. "I liked our movements, our game in possession of the ball, the structure of the game, the way we pressed.
"We need to have a similar performance against Brentford."
Brentford - Yoane Wissa
The 12 home goals netted by Brentford in the Premier League this season have been scored by 11 different players, with Wissa the only one of those to have scored multiple times.
The 25-year-old has been more accustomed to a back-up role of late, but he will be eager to add to goals scored against Liverpool, West Ham and Villa already this season.
Manchester United - Bruno Fernandes
Fernandes took centre stage for United, much like he did throughout last season, in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo with two goals against Villa last time out.
Ronaldo's potential return on Wednesday could restrict Fernandes' attacking capabilities, though with three goals in his last six outings he will always remain a threat.
- This will be the first league meeting between Brentford and United since April 1947, a goalless draw at Griffin Park in the top flight.
- Only Liverpool (57) have won a Premier League game in more different stadia than United (54), with Brentford Community Stadium the 60th different ground at which the Red Devils will have played in the competition.
- United are unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League away games against London sides since a 2-0 loss at Arsenal in January 2020. It is their longest league run without defeat in the capital since a streak of 13 between December 2011 and December 2013.
- Starting with a 5-3 loss at Leicester in September 2014, United have lost seven of their last 22 Premier League away games against promoted sides. The Red Devils had only lost seven of their first 66 such games in the competition (W38 D21).
- United have scored in all 10 of their Premier League away games this season, the best such 100 per cent record in the competition this term. However, three of the last four times they have failed to find the net on the road in the league have been in games in London (v Arsenal, Chelsea and Crystal Palace last season).
Updated January 18, 2022