Lindelof: I like to have the ball at my feet
Victor Lindelof enjoyed what was probably his finest Manchester United performance to date, when highlighting his qualities during the defeat to Juventus in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night.
The Sweden international was praised by manager Jose Mourinho for his handling of the top-class forwards from Turin and he can build on that display, starting with the Premier League visit of Everton on Sunday.
During an interview with the current edition of Inside United magazine, conducted at the end of September, the centre-back spoke about how he has adapted to the Premier League, his willingness to having the ball at his feet and showing off his hidden talents in training.
How are you feeling personally? Has a settled run in the side been helping your game?
Yeah, I feel good. I’m always happy when I play. I always want to help the team and contribute in any way I can. It’s always good for me to play so I’m very happy at the moment. Not with the results, but I want to keep on going to try to help the team in the way that I can.
Do you feel more in tune with the Premier League now?
A lot of players take time to adjust. I feel good. All my team-mates are very, very good and I feel very comfortable with everything around it. I think this season is hopefully going to be better than last season – for the team and also for myself.
The manager talked about the 'salt and pepper' of the Premier League and how it’s different to other leagues. What makes it so different?
Every game is difficult. It doesn’t matter which team plays, it’s always going to be a difficult game, whether it’s home or away. There are tough opponents who work really hard and it’s more physical than other leagues so I think that’s it.
I think so. Every game is a tough one and every team can win the games. It’s stuff like that so I think that’s why people like to watch the Premier League – because of the competitiveness.
The matches are coming thick and fast – do you relish that?
Yes, the best part about football is to play the games. It’s tough but we’re quite used to it now. I was also used to it when I played in Portugal. I had a lot of games with all the competitions going on. It’s tough but also very, very fun. We train every day for matches.
It’s always better to play than train…
It’s fun to play games!
I do! Most people don’t know that but, yeah, I can score nice goals. I can!
Your partnership is going well with Chris Smalling – why do you think you seem to complement each other so well?
He’s a very good player. I think in the last couple of games, we’ve been playing okay with each other. We communicate a lot and speak to each other and cover each other’s backs. I think that’s why we’ve been doing okay in the past couple of games.
We look at who plays on the left and the right in the middle, but is there not a big difference - is it something you take in your stride?
It depends player to player. For me, it’s not a problem. I’m used to playing on the left side as well but I’ll play wherever the manager wants me to play.
Our former manager Louis van Gaal spoke of having a left and right-footer in there but there have been some great partnerships who were both right footed over the years…
I don’t see a problem having two right-footers as central defenders. I have quite a good left foot and can manage to play on the left as well so it’s not a problem.
You like to bring the ball out and start attacks from the back. Is this a key part of your game?
I like to have the ball and start from the back, and I’ve always liked to have the ball at my feet, ever since I was young. I managed to develop that more in Portugal as well and got even better. I think that’s one of my best things.
Did you start playing further up the field when you were younger?
Always. I just started as a no.10 and also played as a winger in the national team actually. Then no.8, no.6 and then I became a right-back and now central defender. I played all those positions.
Everyone wants to be a no.10…
It’s nice, when I was younger I was a no.10 in a free role and I could move around a little bit. I like central midfield.
Maybe that’s where you get the good shot from?
The latest edition of Inside United is out now and available to buy, including at Old Trafford before Sunday's Premier League clash against Everton.