Jesse Lingard Says 'I Feel Back to Myself' at Manchester United

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: Jesse Lingard of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Jesse Lingard has said he feels he is back to performing at his best after a period of poor form at Manchester United

The Englishman started both of United's victories against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in the last week and impressed in the Red Devils attack:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Jesse Lingard created 4 chances in the 87 minutes he played vs. Spurs, just 1 fewer than every other player on the pitch combined. Bright. 💡💡💡 https://t.co/71mX7K2v1K

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Jesse Lingard’s game by numbers vs. Man City: 100% final third pass accuracy 87% overall pass accuracy 3 shots (3 on target) 3 take-ons Tidy. 👏👏👏 https://t.co/3uGgARvJ4G

Before the Spurs game, Lingard had not started any of United's previous seven league games, but he was effective off the bench in November's 3-3 comeback draw against Sheffield United.

He also captained United in their 2-1 UEFA Europa League loss to Astana at the end of last month and scored his first goal for the club in 10 months:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

⚽️Jesse Lingard scores on his 1st app as Man Utd captain and ends a run of 28 apps without a goal ⚽️ 🅰️Luke Shaw making his 1st app since August makes his 1st assist of the season https://t.co/7f2kYTvcf9

Speaking ahead of United's home clash against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday, Lingard acknowledged he had been enduring a period of under-performance before his recent upturn in form, per Sky Sports' Richard Cooke:

"I feel good, I feel back to myself, I feel fit, I feel sharp. I love working for the team, I love winning games and playing matches. 

"Yes [the Jesse I know], he's back now, he's back, he is there. People go through dips in form. It's just about finding the right balance and getting back to your usual self, which I have.

"Of course you're frustrated when you're not playing. You've still got to have the right attitude and right mentality when you do go on and try to make an impact. I felt like I did against Sheffield United and from there I've kicked on."

United's back-to-back wins over Jose Mourinho's Spurs and Pep Guardiola's City have, for now, transformed the outlook of a side that had drawn against Sheffield United and Aston Villa in their two previous league games.

However, if the Red Devils do not beat Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday, they will have garnered fewer points from their opening 17 games of the 2019-20 Premier League season than they did last term, when Mourinho was sacked:

Adam Bate @ghostgoal

Manchester United sacked José Mourinho last December having picked up 26 points from 17 games. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to win the next three (Spurs, City & Everton) to better that total after the club spent big in the summer. Quite the feat to convince anyone this is progress.

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

26 - Manchester United have picked up 26 points after their first 17 Premier League games; their worst points haul in the top-flight at this stage since 1990-91 (also 26 points). Dip. https://t.co/FI2avHKq1D

If they can beat the Toffees, though, United will take significant momentum into the busy Christmas period, when they have winnable games against bottom-of-the-table Watford, Newcastle United and Burnley.

There is a distinct possibility United could put together six league wins on the bounce before the turn of the year, a sequence that would push them closer to the top four:

Premier League @premierleague

Here's how the #PL table looks Can anybody catch Liverpool? 🤔 https://t.co/PIABunV9im

United's problem this season, though, has been getting the better of the smaller teams in the Premier League.

In matches against City, Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester City in 2019-20, United have dropped just four points.

But they have picked up only four from fixtures with Villa, Sheffield United, Southampton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bournemouth, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Crystal Palace.