Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick has told his players to recover physically after they were called “backpacks” by former defender Gary Neville.
Television specialist Neville started a tirade at half time during United’s 1-1 draw at struggling Newcastle On Monday night, substitute Edinson Cavani’s equalizer in the second half at St James’ Park saved a barely deserved point.
Asked about the former United full-back’s comments after the game, Rangnick said: physical. The side effect is body language afterwards.
“But I don’t think that was the major issue for us today, the major issue was the way we played in these times when it came to physics.”
Neville withered in his assessment of the visitors’ performance in the first half after seeing them come in at the break after Allan Saint-Maximin’s goal in the seventh minute.
He told Sky Sports: “These are a bunch of weeping bags. Look at them on this ground. I won’t go into the names, but they are complaining about each other, arms raised, complaining about everything. Honestly, they were absolutely shocking in that first half.
“They fired the last manager. Ralf Rangnick is not going to be fired, he only had two or three weeks with them, but they are going to fire a lot of managers if they continue like this, because it’s a very, very bad performance.
Cavani’s strike in the 71st minute got United out of jail, but without a post and a superb save from David De Gea, Jacob Murphy or Miguel Almiron could have won him for the Magpies to the death.
Rangnick said: “We didn’t play well today. The first half after falling 1-0 after seven minutes, we just had too many unforced errors, too many presents when we were in possession of the ball – including the goal, by the way – and it didn’t. not made 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 well at all. I was not happy with the performance in the first half.
“It was better in the second half, but still not at the level we would have to play to control games.”
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe was thrilled with his squad’s display, if he was disappointed to see only a second Premier League win of the season snatched from their grip.
Howe said: “Naturally we’re disappointed that we didn’t win, I thought we deserved it. We defended very well, I thought we were very tight in our lines. I thought we were really diligent, tactically excellent, the players defended really well in partnerships.
“Then we were very good on the transitions, a real counterattack threat throughout the game and we created a very good chance of having that second goal, which was probably crucial in the end.”
However, a well-deserved point came at a cost, with Callum Wilson suffering from a potentially serious injury and Saint-Maximin also limping to leave a team already exhausted by positive Covid tests still decimated before the scheduled trip to Everton on Thursday night.
When asked if he expected this game to play out, Howe replied, “I don’t know. We will see what the situation is with the players we have.