Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick admitted he “did not like at all” what he saw from his team in their 1-1 draw at struggling Newcastle.
The Reds were off the pace in the first half in particular as they fell behind to their hosts, with former defender Gary Neville criticising the players’ body language and labelling them as “whinge-bags”.
While they salvaged a draw through Edinson Cavani’s equaliser, the overall performance was clearly a concern for Rangnick who was taking charge for the third time in the Premier League and fourth game overall since being appointed interim manager.
“I didn’t like it at all. As I’ve said we are trying to get better at controlling games and today we didn’t control the game, apart from some moments at all,” he said.
“It’s all about energy, physicality and who wins the second balls in the transitional moments. In all those areas we were not at our best today.
“In the end we got a point. That’s the good thing but the performance overall needs to get better…
“Today was not a question of body language, it was a question of body – physicality. The body language is not that much of a problem today.
“If we want to be competitive in this ground we have to play physically. We have to get physical. This was not the case in many parts of the game and therefore we were struggling.
“I think our problem was mistakes. We have given the ball away – when in possession too many balls were given away.
“Even in the second half, we equalised and they had two or three players injured but we were not controlling the game. We were making wrong decisions in those moments and that is what it is all about.”
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe felt his side were unfortunate not to take all three points.
“We’re very disappointed. We thought we deserved to win,” he said.
“The lads executed the game plan brilliantly tonight. We had to be very good in midfield defensively, we had to have the lines tight.
“There were a lot of questions about us defensively and tonight I thought we were very, very good.
“I didn’t think we deserved to concede, and we also created chances. How David De Gea saved that from Almiron at the end I don’t know. I was right behind it.
“But hopefully we’re seeing the beginnings of a new team and how we want to play.”