Tuesday 25 October 2016

Last-gasp winner sends statement to title rivals, says Man United's Jesse Lingard

Published 22/11/2015 | 13:51

Manchester United's Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates with Jesse Lingard at the end of the match
Manchester United's Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates with Jesse Lingard at the end of the match

Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard believes the last-gasp winner against Watford on Saturday sent out a strong statement of intent to their title rivals.

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While Arsenal slipped up at West Brom and Manchester City were thrashed by Liverpool, United dug out a 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road thanks to an injury-time own goal from Troy Deeney.

Deeney thought he had snatched a draw when he cancelled out Memphis Depay's opener with an 87th-minute penalty, but the Hornets captain undid his good work by bundling in Bastian Schweinsteiger's shot-cum-cross minutes later.

Arsenal and City's defeats mean Louis van Gaal's side move second in the table, one point behind Leicester, and Lingard believes the gutsy win delivered a psychological blow in the race at the top.

"It's massive," Lingard told ManUtd.com. "It's a bit of a statement to the other teams, who will look at this and see we've won. It puts a bit more pressure on them, but it's a good feeling to be back up there.

"It was a great way to end the game. I thought it was a scrappy match overall, the conditions didn't help, but we had to keep our concentration throughout and it's great to get the win.

"There are a lot of games coming up, we've got a lot of injuries at the moment and have to adapt to that, I thought we did that well today. As long as we win as many games as we can over Christmas, I think we'll be fine."

It has been an encouraging fortnight for Lingard, who has now started all of United's last three matches as well as earning a late call-up to Roy Hodgson's England squad for the game against France.

The 22-year-old was lively on Saturday too, occupying Watford's defence with a number of dangerous runs in behind while combining well with fill-in forward Depay.

Van Gaal praised both players after the match but Lingard thought he should have put the game to bed before Schweinsteiger forced Deeney's error.

"We created a lot of chances, and personally I should have scored a couple of clear-cut chances," Lingard said.

"I've obviously got to work on that but it's great to see Basti at the back post to stick one in at the end. It's been a long time coming for him, and he's deserved it."

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