Jesse Lingard believes the Premier League’s restart is like a new “mini season” for him after admitting his struggles last season at Manchester United.
The 27-year-old midfielder has struggled for form over the last 18 months, so much so that his new agent Mino Raiola came to blows with the club over support for Lingard, according to The Athletic.
Lingard has been in the firing line at Old Trafford after managing just five goals and four assists in 36 games last season, while this term things have not improved much with just two goals and two assists from 35 appearances to date.
Lingard told Adidas Home Team’s The Huddle: “My mind wasn’t there [last season], I wasn’t really pushing myself. It felt like it weren’t me. You feel like when you watch yourself you’re like ‘that’s not Jesse.’
“I know who I am and my family know who I am, I know how I play and, like I say, I didn’t really push myself last season. So this season I’m gonna have targets, I’m gonna have goals that I need to hit, individually and as a team as well.”
The Warrington-born midfielder is under contract until 2021, but United do have the option to extend his deal by a further year. However, the change of agent to Raiola earlier this year prompted suggestions Lingard was looking for an exit at United.
Leicester, Newcastle, West Ham and Everton are all said to be interested in Lingard, according to the Daily Mirror, but the player has not hinted at a move and instead focused on starting with a clean slate when the league restarts next month.
Asked what his immediate aims were, Lingard said: “Obviously to finish the season.
“You know I wanted to go back in fitter, sharper than last season to play every game. I’ve kind of forgot about last season, we move forward and even though the season’s not finished, I feel like it’s another little fresh start.
“Finishing a season, it feels like a mini-season for me, so to go back in, like I say, flying from the get-go, in which I feel good and then, obviously, for next season to just carry on.
“I have the right attitude, I have the right desire, I have the right hunger to win games to play for United to obviously win trophies which is one of the most important things.”