London (AFP) – Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Jesse Lingard is starting to regain his form after toning down his social media activity.
The 27-year-old England international, who had been a prolific user of social media, was criticised after he posted a crude video on Snapchat last June, for which he was disciplined by the club.
Lingard did not score a Premier League goal or register an assist in 2019 and has managed just two goals in the last 12 months in all competitions.
However, his manager, speaking ahead of United’s League Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester City on Tuesday, said the midfielder was returning to form.
“Jesse has had his ups and downs as I’ve spoken about before. But say the games against (Manchester) City and Tottenham (last month), they are examples of how important he can be for us,” Solskjaer said.
“He is a lively, bubbly character, (but) I don’t think you see as much on social media as you used to do with Jesse. He’s got his head down, working hard. I’ve known him a few years and he is getting back to the Jesse I knew.”
Inconsistent United impressed in a 2-1 win against City in the Premier League last month after beating Tottenham by the same scoreline.
But their results have since been patchy, including dispiriting 2-0 defeats at the hands of Watford and Arsenal to leave them five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
“We have to aim for performances like that (against City),” Solskjaer said.
“When you get highs like that I am sure they will look back on it and say, ‘That’s the Man United we want to see’, but we still can improve on that one.
“Big games give you energy, give you the urge to go to the next level above and beyond what you might be capable of in your head. Sometimes you surprise yourself.”
Solskjaer will give Lingard, Anthony Martial, and Luke Shaw, who all missed United’s goalless FA Cup third-round tie at Wolves, and Harry Maguire, who injured a foot in that game, until the last minute to prove their fitness.
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