Gary Neville slammed the Man Utd squad for their dismal body language against Newcastle, and claimed this group of players could be the downfall of Ralf Rangnick.
Manchester United entered the contest at St. James’ Park on the back of two league victories from two under interim manager Rangnick. However, any notion that rolling over the relegation-threatened Newcastle would be easy was quickly dispelled.
United produced a truly dreadful first-half display that lacked energy, commitment and quality.
The turgid performance improved to some degree after the break when Ralf Rangnick rung the changes at half-time. However, speaking in the Sky Sports studio at the break, United legend Gary Neville could barely believe what he had seen.
United players’ body language was noticeably poor when things didn’t go their way. Players visibly showed their disappointment at their teammates when the wrong decision was made or a pass misplaced.
That caught the eye of Neville at half-time, though he initially tried to remain calm.
“You don’t want to go overboard in the sense that they’ve been off for 16 days,” Neville said (via the Express).
“They’ve obviously got a new manager, they’re trying to get used to a new system. The balance of the team isn’t right. I was worried after Norwich. There’s no pressing, there’s no urgency. The basics of the game. Every single battle they’ve lost.
“That’s been a really poor performance that, honestly that’s a really poor performance. There’s not one single thing that’s gone right as a team.
“They’ve not done one single thing right and there’s not one single player who can go in at half time and say they’ve done their jobs, or even say they’ve done themselves justice.”
True Neville feelings pour out
When pushed on if there was even a single positive from the half, Neville let his true feelings slip.
“Nothing [in terms of positives],” Neville responded. “Honestly I can’t say anything other than the fact they’ve had 16 days without.
“There’s potentially some kind of reason there but I’m not really looking at that to be honest with you because there are still basics of the game that you can do properly, which is win your battles, go into tackles properly, show a little bit of urgency, look like it matters.
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“They’re whinging at each other – they’re a bunch of whingebags. They’re a bunch of whingebags. Watch them on that pitch.
“I’m not going to go into the names but honestly they’re whinging at each other. Their arms are up in the air, they’re complaining about everything.
“Honestly they’re absolutely shocking out there in that first half.”
The poor body language was put to Ralf Rangnick in his post-match interview. However, the German insisted his side’s lack of physicality in both the duel and press was a bigger factor in their disappointing draw.
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The visibly irritated Neville continued: “To be honest with you, they got the last manager the sack.
“Ralf Rangnick’s 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.
“It’s only 45 minutes but they’ve got to sort themselves out because it’s massively below anything that’s expected.
United would go on to secure a draw after substitute Edinson Cavani rescued a point. However, Neville would go on to stress the body language issue once again in the post-match analysis.
Furthermore, when pushed by presenter Dave Jones, Neville pointed the finger at Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo specifically.