Monday 23 October 2017

Too early to write off Lindelof despite inauspicious start

United's  summer signing Victor Lindelof epitomised his team's performance with an afternoon to forget at Huddersfield.

The Swedish centre-back has been on the end of scathing criticism after he misjudged Jonas Lossl's long ball to allow Laurent Depoitre in to score.

Lindelof had previously only played a single minute of league football having come on in the closing seconds of United's draw at Anfield. 

He was pressed into service as a substitute after 23 minutes at the John Smith's Stadium when Phil Jones was forced off with a knee injury. 

He did not cover himself in glory in a nervous performance that suggests he may not be ready for the Premier League.

But United manager Jose Mourinho refused to blame his player, insisting that it's unfair to point the finger at certain individuals for the team's collective shortcomings.

Lindelof arrived from Benfica for £31m in the summer as a highly-rated centre-back who had been wanted by Mourinho for two years.

Lindelof has made five starts for United - the Super Cup match against Madrid, the Carabao Cup at home to Burton and all three Champions League ties.
Like Henrikh Mkhitaryan last season, Jose has used the defender sparingly to give him time to adapt to the rigours of the English game.

Mkhitaryan was frozen out of the side as he needed to be fitter, but he was eventually given his chance and the Armenian has developed into one of this side's most creative players. 

There can be no argument that it's been a poor start to life at United for Lindelof, but he's certainly not alone.

David de Gea struggled in his first season at Old Trafford and Patrice Evra was subbed off at half-time on his debut in the Manchester derby.

Both were written off as flops, but developed into key members of Sir Alex's all-conquering United side and went on the become the world's best goalkeeper and left-back respectively. 

Moving to the club is a huge step up, but Evra and de Gea were both afforded time and patience and look what happened. 

Mourinho rarely makes bad signings and, at still only 23, Lindelof has age on his side to develop and turn things around. 

United travel to Swansea in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday and the Swede is set to be given another opportunity to prove his worth. 

Like his team mates, he must show his character and resolve to respond and get back on track.

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