Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes that Jesse Lingard’s man of the match performance against Swansea City was due to a change in position, as Lingard would net a brace in the 2-0 win.
Lingard, typically a right-winger, was deployed alongside Marcus Rashford in a 3-5-2 formation. The 24-year old pounced on his opportunity, bagging himself a brace. Manager Jose Mourinho believes that this is a position that Lingard could find himself in more often.
“Jesse played well and played with a lot of freedom,” Mourinho told MUTV. “We tried to give him good protection behind with the experience of Ander Herrera and strength of Scott McTominay.”
Lingard, often much-maligned by supporters, gives his heart on the pitch each and every second. He’s scored some brilliant goals for United, especially in huge cup matches.
The Englishman is often met with criticism for all of his actions — whether on the pitch of off. It’s not fair to him. He’s been a Manchester United fan his entire life, he’s gave it all to our club. An academy graduate — and a successful one at that. But this is an argument for another time.
Lingard proved his doubters wrong yesterday, as the versatile attacker was roaming around the Swansea side of the pitch, constantly popping in and out of pockets of space.
Mourinho trusts Lingard, that’s truly what matters most. He delivered us two goals when United were facing its worst run of form so far this season.
“I thought we controlled the game tactically to bounce back from the weekend,” Lingard said post game.
“I feel great, it was a great team performance.”
Lingard has featured in 13 matches so far this season, and his brace last night brought his season total to three goals. But from his last ten goals scored, nine have come in cup competitions — he’s the perfect man for United to have on their roster.
Lingard embraces his role. He knows he isn’t the first choice — or even second choice — for attacking positions. But he always has a positive attitude and brings loads of energy to the pitch when he plays.
However, his new role as a pseudo-striker could be particularly devastating. And perhaps it’s something that Mourinho will showcase more often in the Carabao and FA Cup.
“We played with two strikers with a lot of enthusiasm and it was a good dynamic,” Mourinho said. “We are trying to defend our cup to the maximum we can and now we go to the quarter-finals.
“That’s it and we are happy.”
Lingard was hands down the Man of the Match for United. Playing as a center forward for the first time all season, he was devastating. A 3-5-2 was a nice change of pace by Mourinho, but wherever Lingard is deployed he will always give his all.