What are Victor's ambitions for next season?
Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof is determined to work hard during Tour 2022 to make sure he is ready for the 2022/23 season.
The 27-year-old chatted to Sam Carney from club media during United’s Bangkok leg of the pre-season tour and discussed a host of subjects, from new manager Erik ten Hag to our Premier League opener against Brighton in August.
Here’s Victor’s Q&A in full, for your enjoyment…
How was your summer break? Are you feeling refreshed and revitalised and ready to go for pre-season, and after that, the new season?
“Yeah, no, I had a nice break. I didn’t have any national team this summer so it’s nice to give – to just rest the body and obviously the mind as well and yeah spend some time with friends and family. So yeah, it was great and I of course when I came back I felt fresh and ready and yeah it’s been feeling good.”
All fit and ready to go? Because, did you pull out of the national team through injury, or was it just…?
“I’ve been in the last couple of years I’ve been having some problems with my back and I felt that I needed break to recover fully, and obviously with the new coach as well I wanted to come back fresh and I didn’t want to miss anything from the pre-season.”
You came back with the first set of players, so how has training been in these two weeks so far under Erik?
“It’s been very good. I think the training’s – I think we have stepped up a lot and it’s hard, like it should be in pre-season, and he demands a lot and I think it’s been absolutely great, so yeah, a pleasure.”
Was everyone excited to come back for a fresh start under a new manager and new coaches as well? It’s a fresh start for everyone really, isn’t it?
“Yeah, I think everyone was excited to come back and to start to work on everything. Like I said, it’s been great since we’ve came back and I think all of the guys were really excited and they’re really putting in the effort to listen and to try and learn as fast as possible, you know, all of the things that coach wants us to do.”
And how have you found it so far? I think a few of the lads with Erik have said that he’s very demanding, and he wants to get that fitness up because we’ve got the matches soon and the new season, so is that what you’ve been experiencing so far? Have there been any changes in terms of the actual routine that you go through?
“No, like I say, it’s pre-season, you have to work hard, you have to get the fitness level up and of course he demands that from us. I think that’s exactly how it should be. Because if you want to improve, if you want to be better, then you have to work hard.”
Do you get the sense that everyone in the squad is really keen to impress Erik? You’re starting from a fresh slate, there’s 31 people on this tour and it’s up for grabs who starts the season as well. It’s who impresses isn’t it, so is everyone really motivated to get in his eye?
“I think everyone wants to perform and show their best skills or abilities on the pitch. I think that’s normal going into every season. Of course, with the new coach you want to show what you can do on the pitch.”
He’s said in his interviews, and we’ve seen when he was at Ajax, he likes to play attacking football. Is this something you’ve seen in training as well?
“Yeah, of course, we’ve been working on a lot of different things. A lot with the ball, and what type of football he wants to play, so of course we’ve been working on it, and we’ve seen quite a lot of new things that he wants us to do.”
How does it fit in with your position as well because you’re a centre-back but you like to come forward with the ball, you like to play those sweeping balls out wide so…?
“Yeah, I know I like to have the ball at my feet, I like to play a lot. So of course, if I can feed the players up front with some balls then of course I want to do that and yeah. But like I said, the first couple of weeks have been great and the more we work on it, I think it’s going to be even better.”
The fans always like to see new faces, and we’ve had Tyrell Malacia sign. I know he’s on the tour as well so how’s he been, how’s he fitting in with the rest of the guys?
“He’s been great. I’ve talked to him a little bit, and he seems like a great guy, and I think he’s going to fit right in with the squad with all of the guys. I’m looking forward to training with him more and working with him, but he is looking really, really good.”
Action from Malacia's first United appearance
It was only a friendly, but Tyrell Malacia was proud to represent United. Watch his second-half actions here...
And you’ve been on tour before, but quite a lot of – I think there’s 13-14 academy players in the squad and for a lot of them it’ll be their first tour – so are you kind of helping them along and how amazing an experience is it to be at places like this and seeing our fans throughout the world?
“Of course, it’s always nice to travel with the team and see different places and to meet fans all round the world. It really shows how big this club is. It doesn’t matter where we go, there’s always going to be a lot of fans there to support us. For the young guys, it’s a great experience for them to be here and to learn and to work with the coach and everything. Yeah, I’m just trying to support and tell them to enjoy it and do their thing.”
Of course, you’ve been on tour with us before, was the first one just after you signed in 2017?
Just tell us about your memories of that and how it was seeing all our fans and how popular we are worldwide…
“It was really nice. We went to, I think LA, I think the first stop there on the tour, and it was great and like you said – or like I said before - wherever we go there’s always going to be a lot of people there supporting us. It was the same there, so yeah it was a great feeling to start with a tour and to meet all the fans and obviously the players as well.”
Does playing in friendlies against Premier League sides help to get up to speed for the start of the season?
“I think it is always good to play against good opponents. The better the opponents, the better. I think it is going to be good.”
As a player, what are you hoping to get out of this tour and pre-season? You said fitness but is there anything else as well that, the camaraderie and team spirit? We saw that video that Bruno took on the plane, that’s gone down quite well, and I think people like to see the banter between the players and stuff…
“Yeah, I think that’s also great, with the tour, because obviously you spend a lot of time together with all of the guys and I think it is great for the team spirit to go away on tour because, like I said, we spent a lot of time together. But yeah, of course, to be with the guys and build up a nice team spirit before the season starts and then of course the fitness level. So yeah, just work on my football.”
It's two weeks away from home, and obviously you’ll miss your family and that, but it’s good because you don’t get this time during the season, especially this season with the World Cup. We won’t get this time on the training pitch again will we now?
“It’s going to be a tight schedule obviously. It’s going to be a bit different this year because of the World Cup, so I think we really need this time to work on a lot of different things. So, yeah, it’s great that we have this opportunity.”
We start the season in August with a game against Brighton at Old Trafford. Same as the last few seasons, we’ve started at home, but obviously with a new manager this time it’ll be a really good atmosphere. I bet you all can’t wait to really get into that?
“Yeah, of course, I mean just to go out on the pitch at Old Trafford in front of our fans to play a game and wear the shirt it is an amazing feeling. So, of course, everyone is looking forward to that and we are doing everything we can to prepare the best we can for that game and for the rest of the season.”