Ralf Rangnick confirmed that his Manchester United team was not good enough after falling out of the Premier League’s top four with a 1-1 draw against relegation-threatened Burnley.
United dominated the first half at Turf Moor but had only Paul Pogba’s first league goal in almost a year to show for it after two efforts were called off.
Burnley came out of the tunnel a different team after the break, quickly leveling with Jay Rodriguez’s 100th league goal – and first in 50 league games – before threatening a winner through the lively Wout Weghorst.
Following on from Friday’s FA Cup loss at the hands of Middlesbrough, it was another unhappy night for United, whose difficulties at both ends of the field remain visible 12 games into Rangnick’s interim reign.
The German chastised the authorities for ruling out a Raphael Varane header because Harry Maguire was offside, and then a Josh Brownhill own goal because Pogba fouled Erik Pieters in the build-up, but said his team had not done enough.
“We scored three goals in the first half, and I couldn’t blame the team for lacking a killer instinct in the first half,” he stated on BT Sport.
“But, as I mentioned, we had a number of set-pieces, free kicks, and corner kicks in the last 25 minutes.” In the end, it came down to luck, with (a chance for) Rafa Varane, Cristiano Ronaldo’s header, and Harry Maguire’s header.
However, one point for a performance like this is simply insufficient.
Rangnick was particularly irritated that Brownhill’s own goal had been called out.
“I was watching it right now in the locker room, and the linesman flagged for a foul (on Pogba), but flagged 10 seconds after the action, and this was a very soft decision,” he remarked.
“But, once again, we played a fantastic first half.” I think we dominated and controlled the game. We scored three goals, but two of them were disallowed, and then in the second half, especially the opening 15 to 20 minutes, we were simply not aggressive enough.”
West Ham’s 1-0 win over Watford lifted David Moyes’ team back over Manchester United into fourth place, while Arsenal might leapfrog them on goal difference if they beat Wolves on Thursday.
Dyche’s decision to move Maxwel Cornet to the wing in order to bring Rodriguez in as a strike partner for Weghorst was rewarded with a long-awaited historic goal.