Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick admitted he “didn’t like” the performance of his players in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle.
The Red Devils were laboured for much of the game at St James’ Park, and were indebted to a superb late save from David de Gea – one that salvaged a point from a game that Newcastle will feel they should have won on the balance of play.
United struggled to put the Magpies, who are in the relegation zone and low on confidence, under any kind of sustained pressure, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford all struggling to get a foothold in the game.
After the final whistle, Rangnick admitted to Sky Sports that he was pretty unimpressed with his players – and simply said they must do better.
“No, I didn’t like it at all,” the German said. “We were trying to get better at controlling games. Today we did not control the game, apart from very few moments, at all. It was all about energy, about physicality, and who wins the second balls.
“In all those areas we were not at our best today. In the end, we got a point, that is the good thing. But the overall performance has to get better.”
Asked if he felt United going without a game in 16 days had impacted the performance, Rangnick continued: “It’s also a question of rhythm but we shouldn’t look for excuses.
“We need to get better, we need to get more physical and precise when we’re in possession of the ball, today I was not happy with our performance no matter if we were in possession of the ball or when we had to press and counter-press.
“It’s about sprinting, it’s again about energy, in what kind of energy mode do we play with the ball and against the ball.”
The point keeps United in seventh, trailing a resurgent Arsenal – who currently occupy the final Champions League qualification spot – by seven points, although they do have two games in hand after recent games against Brentford and Brighton were called off because of positive Covid-19 tests.