Jesse Lingard applauds the crowd

Lingard: It’s good to get off the mark

Jesse Lingard was pleased to open his goalscoring account for the season, during Manchester United’s 2-1 Europa League defeat to Astana in Kazakhstan.

While it was a disappointing result for the Reds, one of the positives for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching staff was Jesse’s impressive performance.

In particular, the no.14 - who was our captain for the night - linked well with the likes of Mason Greenwood and Angel Gomes, and his thunderous strike in the 10th minute put United in front against the Kazakh champions, before their second half turnaround.

The strike was Jesse's first for the club since January, and the 26-year-old was relieved to get on the scoresheet.


Jesse Lingard shoots and scores against Astana.
Jesse bagged the first game of the goal with a driven effort from the edge of the box.
“It’s always good to get off the mark and it gives you a bit of confidence,”
he told MUTV after the game. 

“We started off quick and we dominated the first half, but it’s that 30-second period in the second half where I thought we could have managed the game a bit better.

“It’s not an easy place to come,”
he added.
“Their tails were up, they had the fans backing them and it was a hostile environment. But everyone kept their heads, everyone’s mentality was right.”
The game in Kazakhstan involved United’s longest journey for a European clash, with the Reds facing a seven-and-a-half-hour flight to Nur-Sultan.

As well as that, the players have had to adapt to freezing temperatures and a six-hour time difference, and Jesse admitted it has not been a typical away trip. 

“It’s been a different experience for everyone,”
he said.
“We’ve got used to the cold - minus 15 degrees! It’s a different environment and everyone has had to adapt.

“We came a day early to get used to it and trained on the pitch to get used to it. The astroturf can be difficult on your knees and back, but we adapted well.”

Lingard and Laird remain positiveVideo

Lingard was one of nine Academy graduates playing for United in Kazakhstan, with Ole handing several youngsters their debuts.

Among them were Ethan Laird, Di’Shon Bernard and Dylan Levitt, who all played 90 minutes at the Astana Arena, while substitutes Ethan Gaibraith, D’Mani Mellor and Largie Ramazani all made their first-team bows as substitutes.

“It’s huge for the youth of Man United,”
said Lingard.
“Man United are all about bringing the Academy products through and most of the debuts today, I think they enjoyed it.

One of those debutants, Laird, was interviewed alongside Lingard and, despite being frustrated by the result, was thrilled to play his first senior game for United. 

“I was buzzing,” said the right-back. “When I got told I was like ‘right, okay’. Obviously it was a disappointing result but we learn from this and will come back better.

“When you have the likes of Jesse with you it always helps your confidence because you have your elders with you. We just got on with the game,” he added.

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