Jesse Lingard has opened up about the psychological strain placed on Manchester United’s players during the nightmare run that led to the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese left United with the club languishing in sixth place in the Premier League, 19 points behind leaders Liverpool after a catastrophic performance led to a 3-1 defeat at Anfield in his final game.
The club lost five of their 17 league games this season under Mourinho, and their dour, lifeless football had stagnated to such an extent that the board no longer believed the manager was capable of rallying his players to rescue the situation.
And Lingard, who scored twice as United beat Cardiff City 5-1 in caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game in charge, says that the lift the squad has received since the Norwegian returned to Old Trafford has been palpable.
“Yeah of course it affects you,” he told the Premier League when asked about bad results.
“But on the other hand you’ve got to live your life, I guess.
“I mean in some games you’re not going to play well every game.
“It means you have some dips but when like I said it’s back to basics, that one-two touch, run and tackle, do the things off the ball maybe when you come to the training pitch.”
United have scored eight goals in their two fixtures since Mourinho was dismissed, and beat Huddersfield Town 3-1 on Boxing Day to keep on the distant coat tails of the top four.
And against Cardiff, the team gave their strongest attacking performance of the season, netting five goals in a game for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge.
“When you actually get on the field, you’ve got to work, you’ve got to train, you’ve got to learn, you’ve got to put 100 per cent into it,” said Lingard.
“That’s your job that you’ve been doing for all the years building up and what you want to do in the future.
“So as long as you put 100% in week in, well out, I don’t think anyone will say anything different to that.”