Ralf Rangnick admitted his Manchester United side were not good enough after they slipped out of the Premier League top four with a 1-1 draw against relegation-battling Burnley.
United dominated the first half at Turf Moor but, after two strikes were ruled out, had only Paul Pogba’s first league goal in over a year to show for it.
And that proved costly as Burnley emerged from the tunnel a different team after the break, levelling swiftly through Jay Rodriguez’s 100th league goal – and first in 50 league appearances – before threatening a winner through the lively Wout Weghorst.
Coming after Friday’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Middlesbrough, it was another frustrating night for United, whose problems remain obvious at both ends of the pitch 12 games into Rangnick’s interim reign.
The German criticised the officials for disallowing first a Raphael Varane header because Harry Maguire had been offside, then a Josh Brownhill own goal because Pogba had fouled Erik Pieters in the build-up, but accepted his side had not done enough.
“We scored three goals. That was different from last Friday when we only scored one goal in the first half. Tonight we scored three goals,” he said on BT Sport.
“At the end, it is a frustrating evening for us because we should have won that game easily after the first half and even the last 25 minutes we had full control and dominated the game but were not decisive enough as we were in the first half.
“I could not blame the team for not having a killer instinct in the first half but in the last 25 minutes we had a lot of set pieces.
“In the end, it was a little bit a case of luck with Raphael Varane, the header by Cristiano, Harry Maguire, but in the end one point for a performance like this is just not enough.”
Rangnick was particularly unhappy to see the Brownhill own goal ruled out, adding: “In particular, the second one that was disallowed, I watched it right now in the locker room. The linesman flagged for a foul but he flagged 10 seconds after that incident. This was a very soft decision, I must say.
“But again we played an excellent first half, I thought. We totally dominated the game, scored three goals but two were disallowed.
“Then in the second half, for the first 10 to 15 minutes, we were just not aggressive enough. It was clear they would come out after the break in a more aggressive way to play but we were not aggressive in those 15 minutes. We gave away the goal.
“We had a very good counter-attacking situation 30 seconds before we conceded the goal and the way that we allowed them to score, we did not defend the whole situation well.”
Maguire: Two points dropped
West Ham’s 1-0 win over Watford saw David Moyes’ side climb back above Manchester United into fourth, while Arsenal could move above them on goal difference if they win at Wolves on Thursday.
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire was also left frustrated by the result, saying his side dropped two points at Turf Moor in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“I think you saw the first half, we had control,” he told BT Sport. “We have got to win the game with the amount of chances we created. We had to get that second goal. Two points dropped.
“We wanted to dominate the game but for sure when you come to Burnley away you are not going to dominate for 90 minutes. We had to see it out better. We conceded like against Middlesbrough when they had that spell of pressure. We have got to be that bit more clinical.
“It was a disappointing goal on our behalf to concede. We came out in the second half a bit sloppy. We had long enough in the game to come back from that and try and find the winner.
“We demand on ourselves to win the football match so it is disappointing.”
Merson: A bad result for Man Utd
Sky Sports’ Paul Merson on Soccer Special:
“Man United did very well in the first half but they came out in the second half and thought it would be a walk in the park.
“That was a bad result for Manchester United.
“They just didn’t get going in the second half and Burnley thoroughly deserved a point.”
Dyche: It was a good reaction
The point was of more use to Burnley, though Sean Dyche knows his side must add to their solitary win this season if they are to move off the foot of the table.
Though the final whistle was greeted with a huge cheer, Burnley’s gap to safety grew to four points on the night as Newcastle beat Everton.
“It’s not an easy situation, we’re factually bottom of the league,” Dyche said. “I don’t think we should be but there we are. We’ve got to correct it and it’s difficult playing against Manchester United.
“There might be some noise about them at the moment but you look at that team sheet and they’ve got top, top players.
“We didn’t get to grips with the performance but we stayed intact and at half-time I asked a bit more of a few individuals, I thought we carried a few. But it was a very good reaction afterwards.”