United Hangout: Pogba and Lingard recall Europa League glory
Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba have teamed up again, albeit from a distance in their respective homes, to catch up on life in lockdown and to reminisce about their roles in Manchester United's 2017 Europa League success.
The two Academy graduates were involved in that triumph, and while the current football season - including another promising European campaign - is on hold, they took some time out from their isolation activities such as fitness training, box-set viewing and cooking to review the 2-0 win over Ajax in Stockholm.
In our latest United Hangout video chat, chaired by MUTV presenter Sam Homewood, the good friends enjoyed looking back on that match three years ago and recalling their emotions.
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“I was so happy because that was what we wanted,”Paul said.
“At the start of the season we wanted to win this and it meant we went through to the Champions League [the following season].
“It was our second trophy of the year and I was really happy. That’s what Manchester United is about: winning trophies.”
It was the Frenchman who opened the scoring that evening, although Jesse cheekily suggested it should have been recorded as an own goal due to the huge deflection the ball took off Ajax defender Davinson Sanchez.
“It was my goal! If I don’t shoot, the ball doesn’t go that way,”Pogba responded, with a chuckle.
“It was a lucky shot and the ball went in. When you’re winning at the start that gives you an advantage. It was a good start for us.”
“We were very confident,”he recalled.
“We saw out the first half and were leading. Then it’s about sticking to the game plan, not getting complacent and sticking together on the pitch.”
Henrikh Mkhitaryan netted United's second goal after the break, before Jesse could have made it 3-0 late on, only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle from Sanchez.
“When you’re running through on goal you don’t think about what’s behind you, you just think you’re going to score,”said Lingard,
“Sanchez was chasing me down and he was rapid! I was one-on-one with the keeper and he made a last-ditch tackle as I was about to shoot.”
“It was amazing [to win the final],” our no.14 continued.
“European finals are every boy’s dream, and to lift the trophy with the likes of Paul and Marcus [Rashford], who I’d grown up with, was a beautiful feeling. You can never forget that.”
“It was a very good game for all of us,” Pogba added.
“Everyone played well and we had a very strong performance.”
MESSAGES FOR THE FANS
Paul and Jesse ended their United Hangout by offering words of support and encouragement for the club's fans who are also in isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Stay safe, stay at home, stay connected. Keep supporting United and hopefully we will be back soon. We want to get back to the game - and to winning trophies.”
“Obviously we've got to follow the government guidelines. We've got to stay indoors, wash our hands quite frequently and be safe. When football starts again, we'll be ready. We're training, we're working hard in our homes and in our gardens and we can't wait to get back.”
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