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Ralf Rangnick annoyed by passive Manchester United display

Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick reacts during their Premier League game against Newcastle United at St James’ Park in Newcastle on Monday

Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick reacts during their Premier League game against Newcastle United at St James’ Park in Newcastle on Monday. Photo: Scott Heppell/Reuters

Published Dec 28, 2021

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Newcastle — Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick was unhappy with his team's lacklustre performance in a 1-1 Premier League draw at struggling Newcastle United on Monday.

Newcastle missed a number of good chances and only a majestic performance by goalkeeper David De Gea spared Rangnick his first defeat as Manchester United's boss.

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"I didn't like the performance at all," the German told Sky Sports as he stretched his unbeaten run in all competitions to four games.

"Today we didn't control the game apart from a few moments. It's all about energy, physicality and who wins the second ball. 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."

The visitors looked uncomfortable every time Newcastle came forward and Rangnick, who started his tenure with 1-0 wins over Crystal Palace and Norwich City, defended his decision to revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation against Newcastle.

"Today it was not a question of formation — it was a question of how aggressive we were," he said. "You have to be ready and able to win those direct duels and this was not often the case.

"If you want to be competitive here you have to get physical and this was not the case in many parts of the game. We shouldn't look for excuses — we need to be better and get more physical."

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe rued his team's missed chances although he praised Allan Saint-Maximin, who gave the home side an early lead before Edinson Cavani levelled.

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"We are very disappointed as we deserved to win," he said. "The lads executed the game plan brilliantly. I thought we were very good and didn’t deserve to concede.

"Naturally with someone like (Saint-Maximin) him you want him to have the ball all the time. When he’s on song there’s nobody quite like him. Key to our success is trying to feed him as much as we can."

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