Ralf Rangnick calls out Man United for lacking 'energy and physicality' at Newcastle
Manchester United produced a lacklustre display as they came from behind to draw against Newcastle
Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick accused his side of lacking 'energy and physicality' as they were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-threatened Newcastle United.
The Magpies took the lead through exciting Frenchman Allan Saint-Maximin's seventh minute strike and looked good value for their lead, with Joelinton particularly impressive in his new-found midfield role.
Despite United's lack of urgency, they were able to find an equaliser as Edinson Cavani came off the bench to level the game with 12 minutes left and rescue a point for the visitors.
It is really worth noting that United's senior squad has been severely disrupted by positive Covid cases. The full squad did not train for 10 days after a slew of positives were confirmed after the 1-0 win over Norwich City. When they did get together, Rangnick had only 16 outfield players to go through sessions with. Some players could only be getting over bouts and positive cases can have varying impacts on different individuals.
The Red Devils have failed to overly impress since Rangnick has taken over, with many pointing to the attitude of the United players, including Gary Neville, who called out key players Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes for being "whinge bags".
“It's devastating for the younger players if the two best players are looking at the others as if they're not good enough."
Gary Neville calls out Ronaldo and Bruno’s “whinging”
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) December 27, 2021
Ralf Rangnick far from impressed with United performance
And Rangnick himself wasn't impressed with what he saw and demanded improvement from his squad.
"I didn't like the performance at all," the German told Sky Sports.
"Today we didn't control the game apart from a few moments. It's all about energy, physicality and who wins the second balls. In all those areas we weren't at our best. The good thing is we got a point but the performance needs to be better.
"You have to be ready and able to win those direct duels and this was not that often the case. When we were in possession we had too many giveaways and even with the goal, that doesn't make things easy."
🗣 "I didn't like it at all."
Ralf Rangnick admits Manchester United were nowhere near their best and lists the areas which need improving pic.twitter.com/b344LtX5Ek
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) December 27, 2021
Ralf Rangnick points to two major downfalls
The 63-year-old then called for his side to take more risks when in possession of the ball and make the right decisions.
He said: "Today was not a question of body language, it was a question of body physicality. If you want to be competitive here you have to get physical and this was not the case in many parts of the game.
"Our biggest problem was the mistakes we made. Even when we scored the equaliser we were not really controlling the game and taking the right decisions.
"We were one goal behind and we needed to take more risks. In some situations, including the goal, we were good and with Edinson we had another striker who was dangerous.
"In three days we have the next game. We can do better but we have to do it. We shouldn't look for excuses - we need to be better and get more physical."
Physicality and energy. A squad that was badly affected by a Covid outbreak could point to that as the reason why they seemed so listless on Monday night.
In professional sport, though, there is little sympathy for such lines. Rangnick could look to freshen up his squad for upcoming games against Wolves and Burnley with an injection of academy players in a hope to add to pep to his flagging senior squad.