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.
“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.”
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.”
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."
Astana v UnitedGallery
We've collated the images that you must see from our Europa League match in Kazakhstan.
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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