Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Jesse Lingard has toned down his social media activity in order to recapture his best form in the second half of the campaign.
Lingard failed to score or assist in the Premier League in 2019 calendar year and has lost his place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad ahead of this year’s European Championship.
“Jesse has had his ups and downs as I’ve spoken about before,” Solskjaer told a news conference ahead of United’s League Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester City on Tuesday. “We want him back scoring goals and making assists. There’s no one who runs as much, he’s great to trigger for us in the pressing, he’s a lively, bubbly character.”
Lingard recently said in an interview with the Daily Mail that he feared for his United future after posting a bizarre video on social media with teammate Marcus Rashford in the close season. Solskjaer had reprimanded the midfielder for his conduct and said it was important to speak to players about how they portray themselves online.
“I don’t think you see as much in the social media as you used to from Jesse,” the Norwegian coach added. “He’s got his head down and working hard. I’ve known him many, many years and he’s getting back to the Jesse I knew.”
United stunned City in an impressive 2-1 league victory last month at the Etihad Stadium, just three days after they edged Tottenham Hotspur by the same scoreline.
Solskjaer said those performances are now a benchmark for his United squad. “We’ve got to aim for performances like that,” he said.
“But every game lives its own life and when you get highs like that, I’m sure they will look back on it and say, ‘that’s the Man United we want to see’. But we can still improve on that one.” United will make a late decision on the availability of their unwell and injured players.
Lingard and Anthony Martial missed Saturday’s goalless FA Cup draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers through illness and defender Harry Maguire picked up a knock during the match at Molineux Stadium. “We’re going to give them as much time as we can,” Solskjaer said.