Ralf Rangnick apologised to Manchester United supporters after he said his “terrible” side were “humiliated” in the 4-0 defeat to Brighton.
Brighton thrashed United at the Amex Stadium to ensure the visitors will finish the season with their worst points total in the Premier League era.
When asked if the performance was the worst of his tenure, Rangnick told Sky Sports: “Yes, it was from the first to the last minute.
“We were second best. We can only apologise to the supporters. It was a terrible performance and a humiliating defeat.
“We gave them too much time, too much space. We couldn’t get into a position to stop them playing through our lines. The game plan was completely different. We told the players to be as compact as possible and then to release pressure on them.
“I don’t think the players ignored the game plan but they weren’t able to stop them. We gave them too much space and time. When you give technically good players this space, this is what can happen.
“In the second half we took the risk to bring on Cavani to play as a second striker, but in hindsight it was too much of a risk to play in a 4-4-2 against them but we had to change the energy. Today we were second best.
“As a team we didn’t defend at all. We couldn’t stop them.”
Manchester United’s supporters packed out the away end at the Amex but their anger towards the team was easy to hear after they side conceded the fourth goal, chanting en masse: “You’re not fit to wear the shirt.”
When asked about the chanting, captain for the day Bruno Fernandes agreed with the supporters.
He told Sky Sports: “What we did, and by myself, was not enough to be in a Manchester United shirt. I accept that.”
Analysis: Gross profits from laughable United
Sky Sports’ Lewis Jones at the Amex:
“Pascal Gross shouldn’t be able to take the mickey out of Manchester United.
“He’s a fine player don’t get me wrong – and one that has thrived under Graham Potter – but he’s uncapped by his country and most Premier League football fans wouldn’t notice him if they walked past him in the street. But he plays for a football club with a clear identity that thrives as a unit which in turn makes players thrive wearing the Brighton colours.
“This brilliant Brighton side are everything, this United side are not. Well-coached, well-trained, full of desire, full of skill and full of confidence in their approach. When their manager talks, they probably listen. When Ralf Rangnick tells him Manchester United players what to do, they have a strange habit of staring into space.
“And here Gross was at the Amex toying with Manchester United with his side remarkably 4-0 up in a Premier League match. He had already sent Raphael Varane – a World Cup and Champions League winner no doubt – out for a hot dog with a nice dummy before dinking a finish past David de Gea to make it 3-0. But then he engaged ultimate humiliation mode for the visitors, revelling in the “Ole’s” from the home crowd to produce two Cruyff turns past Brazilian international Fred on the touchline before backheeling a pass through the legs of Diogo Dalot to the utter joy of a delirious home faithful.
“Moments later, De Gea decided to take 30 seconds longer than usual from a goal kick. Timewasting at 4-0 down. Damage limitation at 4-0 down. A new low? You bet it is.”
Brighton travel to Leeds in their penultimate Premier League game of the season on May 15 (kick-off 2pm). They then finish the campaign at home to West Ham seven days later (kick-off 4pm).
Manchester United have one match remaining of the Ralf Rangnick era. They travel to Crystal Palace on May 22 (kick-off 4pm).
Brighton’s remaining fixtures
May 15 – Leeds (a)
May 22 – West Ham (h)
Man Utd’s remaining fixtures
May 22 – Crystal Palace (a)