Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard has gone from villain to hero in the space of a week, scoring in the 89th minute to give his side a 2-1 come from behind victory at West Ham.
The Lingard late show wasn’t the final act in a dramatic day, as much-criticised keeper David de Gea saved a Mark Noble penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time to ensure all three points would go back to Old Trafford.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was under fire after his teams Champions League loss in midweek, and the manager was delighted with the way his side responded today.
"We deserved three points [against West Ham]. It's a hard place to come, here. Hopefully these points can make a difference. Let's see [about the title] when we get towards April and May."
"We have to defend better. We have to make it harder to break us down. For their goal the structure was wrong for whatever reason and we'll have to work on it."
“I'm so happy for him [Lingard] because you know it's ups and downs in football. He was low on Tuesday, now high again, he scored against Newcastle, you're up, you're down, you're up – but that's football. You have to live with it and Jesse has learned how to deal with ups and downs in football. You know, if you play for Man United you have to live with it, be able to handle that scrutiny. Don't worry about it because what we have to worry about is ourselves, what we do, what we say. We're a group, we're together, we work together, stick together through thick and thin. That's never going to be any different. This is a family. It was a great goal. Of course, he had a tough evening on Tuesday but he’s knuckled down and worked hard again. He’s been the same bright, positive lad and what a goal. A great pass by Nemanja, a good turn by Jesse and a great goal.”
Cristiano Ronaldo continued his red-hot form since his return scoring his fourth goal in three matches, however, Solskjaer was left feeling aggrieved that his talisman was not awarded any of the three penalties he should have been given.
“I'm going to be careful with what I'm saying, but you've got to be wondering what's he's got to do to get a penalty. The first [obstruction by Coufal] and the third [tackle by Ogbonna] is 100 per cent nailed on. The one where he gets pulled back [by Cresswell] is probably [not obvious], but it's still a foul, he gets pulled down in the box. It's frustrating but they've got to look at it. It's two clear penalties. I think they’re stonewall. You can’t even argue against them. The first one, he puts his foot out and Ronaldo runs straight and is fouled. The last one, Paul had a foul against him on Zouma when he didn’t touch him but he went over him. Why is Cristiano’s not? Hopefully it won’t be that he’s never going to get a penalty.”
Despite some defensive failings, Solskjaer was happy with how his team played overall, and was grateful to come away from a tricky venue with another away win.
“Very happy with the performances – 11 corners, a few big chances that we missed. First 10-15 minutes of the second half I thought we pressed them really well, made them give the ball away five or six times in their own box more or less, and it's one of them, we can't get a counter-attack every time we have a corner. There was a few having to sprint back a couple of times.”
“We have to work better defensively, no doubt. In the first half, we were too easy to play through. We will work on it because there is no respite when you play football. I’ve spoken about how you can’t take rests when you defend. We dropped into a back six [for the goal] and there were too many spaces. We were too late to charge the ball. We’ve already sorted that and spoke about that at half-time. It was better in the second half and a great response, that was a big thing for me – how do you react when you go 1-0 down? It was a very, very good five minutes for us.”
The match-winner Lingard, who spent the second half of last season on loan at the London Stadium with West Ham, is set to start as Solskjaer is expected to make a number of changes when the two teams meet this week in the Carabao Cup.
"Jesse was quite clear he wants to fight for his place and be part of a Man United team that is going places," Solskjaer added.
"I can't speak for Jesse now but he's really contributing. He'll play on Wednesday as I'll make a few changes," concluded Solskjaer.
This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.