Jesse Lingard knows he is a long way from being considered a first-team regular at Manchester United – but the academy star knows exactly what he needs to do to impress Jose Mourinho.
The United midfielder has had a mixed start to the season under his new manager, having begin the season by scoring the first goal of the Portuguese’s reign in the 2-1 win over Leicester in the Community Shield.
Lingard then sat out United’s opening three Premier League matches before earning a start in the Manchester derby, only to be brought off at half-time, with the player’s performance earning criticism from Mourinho.
Mourinho, in explaining his decision to pull off both Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, said: “Honestly, I had two or three players in the first half that, if the game is now and I know what is going to happen, I don’t play them,” he told Sky Sports. “Sometimes players disappoint managers. Sometimes players give us great surprises.
“We could play with some individuals with some qualities who didn’t give me what I want. Is it their fault? Is it my fault? It’s my fault because it’s my choice.”
However, after Lingard putting in an improved display in the 4-1 league win over Leicester on Saturday, Lingard knows what he must bring to his game and hopes there will be more opportunities in the near future.
“I think it’s about finding the right consistency,” said Lingard, who is also expected to soon be handed a new United deal.
“That’s been a downfall and this season my main focus is to stay in the team, find that consistency and help the team any way I can.
“To stay in the team and keep that consistency week in, week out is the main thing this season. We’ve got to take it game by game and hopefully I can do that.”
United return to Europa League action on Thursday against Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk (8.05pm k/o) and will be hoping to make amends for a shock 1-0 defeat to Feyenord in their opening group game.