Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata was full of praise for teammate Jesse Lingard after his performance in the team's win over West Browich Albion on Saturday.
Louis van Gaal's men were 2-0 winners over 'The Baggies' at the weekend with goals from Lingard and Mata to keep up the pressure on league leaders Manchester City. Lingard has been in consistent form in recent weeks and was rewarded with the opening goal after his curling effort beat Boaz Myhill in the West Brom net before Mata converted a late penalty to keep the three points at Old Trafford.
Mata congratulates youngster on superb goal
Lingard's performances have been encouraging and has managed to keep his place in the team ahead of summer signing Memphis Depay, and Mata was quick to praise his teammate after the win.
“Lingard’s goal showed our way to the victory and I was lucky to close the score later on. It was his first goal with the first-team and here I congratulate him again."
The visitors to Old Trafford had held United at half time and at times it looked liked the Reds had almost forgot to find the net. Lingard's goal came at the right time for the home side, but Mata understood that West Brom were always going to be a difficult side to break down. He went on to say: “We have to make a positive assessment of the game against West Brom, a squad with former team-mates that made things complicated for us.”
Lingard appreciative of Van Gaal's confidence
The Warrington born midfielder has started the past six games for United and has become a huge fan favourite and at only 22 has bags of potential in his career. Manager Louis van Gaal has always been one to give the youth side a chance and Lingard has expressed his desire to play week in week out for United.
He said that he "wants to be doing this week in week out," (playing for Man United), but has to be "patient and wait" for his time. He admitted that "the manager wanted me to stay, and that he sees me playing games this season".
Lingard has said previously that van Gaal wanted the youngster to stay at Old Trafford after loan spells at Leicester City, Birmingham City, Brighton & Hove Albion and Derby County in recent years, but now seems to be a key figure in the Manchester United squad.