Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick has told his players to get physical after they were branded “a bunch of whinge-bags” by former defender Gary Neville.
TV pundit Neville launched a half-time tirade during United’s 1-1 draw at struggling Newcastle on Monday evening in which substitute Edinson Cavani’s second-half equaliser at St James’ Park rescued a point.
Asked about the former United full-back’s comments after the game, Rangnick said: “I don’t think today it was a problem of body language, it was more a question of physicality, of meeting the demands with regard to speed, tempo, physicality. The side-effect is the body language afterwards.
“But I don’t think that was the major problem today for us, the major problem was the way that we played in those moments when it was about physicality.”
Neville was withering in his assessment of the visitors’ first-half display after seeing them go in at the break trailing to Allan Saint-Maximin’s seventh-minute strike.
He said on Sky Sports: “They’re a bunch of whinge-bags. Watch them on that pitch. I’ll not go into names, but they’re whinging at each other, arms up in the air complaining about everything. Honestly, they were absolutely shocking in that first half.
“They got the last manager the sack. Ralf Rangnick is not going to get the sack, he’s only had two or three weeks with them, but they’ll get a lot of managers the sack if they carry on like that, because that’s a really, really poor performance.”
Cavani’s 71st-minute strike got United out of jail, but had it not been for a post and a brilliant save by David De Gea, either Jacob Murphy or Miguel Almiron could have won it for the Magpies at the death.
Rangnick said: “We didn’t play good today. The first half after having been down 1-0 after seven minutes, we just had too many unforced errors, too many give-aways when we were in possession of the ball – including the goal, by the way – and that didn’t make life any easier for us in this game.
“Of course, it was a massive push for Newcastle and in the first half, we didn’t play good at all. I was not happy with the performance in the first half.
“It was better in the second half, but still not on the kind of level that we would have to play in order to control games.”
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe was delighted with his side’s display, if disappointed to see just a second Premier League win of the season wrenched from their grasp.
Howe said: “Naturally we’re disappointed not to win, I thought we deserved to. We defended really well, I thought we were really tight in our lines. I thought we were really diligent, tactically excellent, the players defended very well in partnerships.
“Then we were really good on transitions, a real counter-attacking threat throughout the match and created some really good chances to have got that second goal, which was probably crucial in the end.”
However, a well-deserved point came at a cost with Callum Wilson suffering a potentially serious injury and Saint-Maximin also limping off to leave a squad already depleted by positive Covid tests further decimated ahead of Thursday night’s scheduled trip to Everton.
Asked if he expected that game to go ahead, Howe said: “I don’t know. We’ll see what the situation is with the players that we have.”