Manchester United's Player of the Month Jesse Lingard picked up his award at the Aon Training Complex on Thursday and discussed his red-hot form with MUTV, ahead of the Emirates FA Cup tie against his former loan club Derby County...
Obviously, I’ve been in and around the team and playing a lot of matches so it’s been great to add some goals as well to my performances.
You were a runaway winner of our poll and even Juan Mata, a fellow contender, voted for you online…
Yes, it’s always great to be recognised by your fellow team-mates and by the fans. It’s about more hard work now, though, I’ve got to kick on a bit more and score more goals to help the team keep picking up three points.
Would you say this is the best form of your career?
Yes, of course, I think I’m now coming into the team and it’s a great group of lads. It’s easy to play as a team with the performances we’ve been showing pretty much since last month. It’s good to keep working hard, pushing yourself and, by scoring goals, you get the reward.
You’ve scored 10 goals and some great ones among them this season – which is your favourite?
I think all of them! To score a goal for Manchester United is always a great feeling. To score the goals I’ve scored is even better really. I enjoy going out on the pitch every week, scoring goals and helping the team.
You’ve been unlucky too – you hit the woodwork twice with one shot against Burnley when it bounced up and also hit a post at Leicester…
It can happen in football. I think it’s how you react after that. I’ve shown the manager if I’ve missed chances, I can score the next one.
Are you running out of new celebrations with all these goals you’re scoring?
[Laughs] It depends on the timing in the game and what the score is, to be fair. The Burnley one was more passionate because it was a comeback and it was the type of feeling where I showed the passion I was experiencing at the time.
I thought we could have nicked it towards the end. Like I’ve said before, if we played a bit longer, we would have won the game as we had Burnley penned in and they couldn’t get out.
We thought we played well at Leicester even though we didn’t win, but was the second half against Everton the team playing in our best form?
Yeah, I think we’re back to performing well and doing what we do best. It’s just the goals we need now, the performances have been there. If we can add the goals, like we did in the second half at Everton, along with the performance, obviously it’s even better.
What was quite surprising, giving the exhausting schedule, was how fresh we looked in the second half at Goodison?
I thought we got our second wind, each and every one of us. We enjoy football so we don’t mind playing as often as we do. So to get over this Christmas period now, it’s about focusing on each game as it comes.
You’ve always been a fit lad with good stamina - do you feel fresh despite all these games of late?
Of course. I want to play every game, obviously. We recover well and do things that they ask of us in order to do recover. It was two games in 48 hours and I’ve never done that before but I still felt fresh in the second half at Everton.
Born and raised Gallery
Ten of our favourite Jesse Lingard photos from his early years at United.
They are doing really well and, you know, cup games are always difficult. You never know what’s going to happen but, as long as we prepare ourselves right, we can move on.
The FA Cup will always be special for you after that winning goal against Crystal Palace but also for the club too…
Of course, every competition we are in, we always want to win it. The FA Cup is always going to be special and, if we can get over this hurdle and a few more games, then we could get back to Wembley.
Does the competition have even more importance after we were knocked out of the Carabao Cup?
Yes, I think so. It’s always good to win a trophy in any season – unfortunately we are out of the Carabao Cup now but we can obviously focus on the FA Cup, plus we’ve got the league and the Champions League as well.
The long read: Jesse's rise print productsource 8 MIN READ
Academy programme advisor Tony Whelan tells the unique story of Lingard’s rise, from an impish boy to first-team star.