Sc­holes pre­dicts Lin­gard exit as United toil

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By James Ducker

Manch­ester United Lin­gard 57, Mar­tial 88


Wiesinger 55

United win 7-1 on agg 1

This may not have been a night when too many of Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer’s fringe play­ers ad­vanced their claims for a reg­u­lar place but, of all the lack­lus­tre stand-ins for Paul Sc­holes to pick on, Jesse Lin­gard seemed an odd choice.

Lin­gard had at least demon­strated some of the ur­gency his Manch­ester United team-mates lacked and kick-started a come­back against LASK with his sec­ond goal in as many games be­fore be­ing taken off, some­what strangely, only six min­utes later.

Need­ing games, and with lit­tle prospect of start­ing Mon­day’s Europa League quar­ter-fi­nal against Copen­hagen in Cologne, ac­cord­ing to pun­dit Sc­holes, the for­mer United mid­fielder viewed Lin­gard’s pre­ma­ture with­drawal as fur­ther ev­i­dence Sol­sk­jaer might be mak­ing prepa­ra­tions to “get rid” of Lin­gard.

Lin­gard could count him­self un­for­tu­nate not to fin­ish this drab game, his frus­tra­tion at be­ing sub­sti­tuted ob­vi­ous as he left the field and also af­ter the game.

“I was en­joy­ing the game,” he said. “I felt like I could score more to­day, but ob­vi­ously it’s the man­ager’s de­ci­sion and I stand by that. Of course, you take con­fi­dence from goals. I wanted to add goals this sea­son and hope­fully I can carry on through­out this com­pe­ti­tion.”

Sol­sk­jaer sidesteppe­d a ques­tion about Lin­gard’s fu­ture, but said he would be “dis­ap­pointed” if he had been happy about com­ing off. “I’ve known Jesse since he was a kid, there’s a good player there, a great per­son­al­ity, he knows what we want from him and he has to stand by the man­ager, what­ever de­ci­sion he makes,” the United man­ager said.

Lin­gard has scored as many goals in the past 11 days as he did in the pre­vi­ous eight months and his fin­ish from Juan Mata’s through ball drew United level mo­ments af­ter a stun­ning 25-yard strike from Philipp Wiesinger had given LASK a de­served lead. An­thony Mar­tial’s 23rd goal of the sea­son was enough to win it late on for United, but the re­sult flat­tered them.

Copen­hagen lie in wait af­ter the Dan­ish side over­turned a 1-0 deficit to beat Is­tan­bul Basak­se­hir 3-0, but United will have to play bet­ter than this to reach the semi-fi­nals.

Sol­sk­jaer pledged to make changes and it is easy to see why.

Sure, United’s place in the last eight had been as­sured af­ter their 5-0 first-leg win in March, but this was an op­por­tu­nity for Sol­sk­jaer’s squad play­ers to im­press and the lack of ur­gency was trou­bling.

Lin­gard and Mata were busy, but Daniel James was anony­mous, Fred made lit­tle head­way and Odion Ighalo never got close to repli­cat­ing his im­pres­sive turn in Aus­tria.

“We learnt the play­ers need to play to keep that sharp­ness,” Sol­sk­jaer said. “Some lads haven’t played for a while and it showed.”

It was cer­tainly an­other re­minder of how much strength­en­ing this squad still re­quire, some­thing

Jadon San­cho alone would not ad­dress. In­deed, it was not un­til the open­ing min­utes of the sec­ond half that United man­aged their first shot on tar­get, and it needed Wiesinger’s breath­tak­ing goal, af­ter a cor­ner was only par­tially cleared, to lift the hosts from their slumber.

From a stray pass from LASK mid­fielder, Rein­hold Ran­ftl, Mata swept a lovely first-time pass into the path of Lin­gard, whose shot raced past Alexan­der Sch­lager with the help of a slight de­flec­tion.

LASK were de­ter­mined to give a good ac­count of them­selves af­ter their hum­bling in Aus­tria and it re­quired a de­cent save from Ser­gio

Romero to shut out Do­minik Reiter in the 71st minute and also deny Marko Raguz an equaliser af­ter Mar­tial had put United in front. Af­ter a cou­ple of quick one-twos with Mata opened up LASK’s de­fence, Mar­tial watched his shot drib­ble un­der Sch­lager. Next stop Cologne.

(4-2-3-1) Romero 7; Fosu-Men­sah 5 (Mengi 84), Bailly 6, Maguire 6, Wil­liams 6 (Chong 72); Mc­Tom­i­nay 5, Fred 5 (Pereira 63); Mata 7, Lin­gard 6 (Pogba 63), James 4 (Mar­tial 84); Ighalo 5. Grant (g), Rash­ford, Fer­nan­des, Green­wood, Wan-Bis­saka, Matic, Garner. Mc­Tom­i­nay.

(3-4-3) Sch­lager 6; Wiesinger 7 (Sab­itzer 73), Trauner 7, Andrade 6 (Filipovic 80); Ran­ftl 5, Hol­land 6, Mi­chorl 6, Ren­ner 6; Frieser 6, Raguz 6, Balic 6 (Reiter 66). Lawal (g), Ge­bauer, Ram­seb­ner, Muller, Wostry, Haudum, Celic. Mi­chorl.

Anas­ta­sios Sidiropou­los (Greece).

2 Mixed emo­tions: Jesse Lin­gard scores his sec­ond goal in as many games to bring Manch­ester United level, but was soon re­placed, much to his frus­tra­tion

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