The midfielder’s brother has hammered Rangnick for denying the player one last outing to Old Trafford in their final home game before his contract expired in the summer.
However, Rangnick insisted he could only call on Lingard and fellow out-of-contract star Edinson Cavani, having also wanted to play youngster Alejandro Garnacho.
“For starters, in the last two weeks under my tenure, he’s played a lot more games than before,” Rangnick said on Friday.
“Secondly, on the day of the game against Chelsea, he asked me to release him from the game and training the next day for personal family reasons. And that was the reason.
“With only three substitutes, I had to make a decision between Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard, or the youngster [Garnacho]that I would have loved to bring and have the chance to play.
“I made the decision to bring Edinson. If I hadn’t brought Edinson, someone else might have asked if he was classless not to bring Cavani or Garnacho.
“You have to make a decision and it won’t be to everyone’s taste and that’s part of the game.”
United are ending their campaign at Brighton and Crystal Palace, with Marcus Rashford ruled out of Saturday’s trip to the Amex Stadium.