Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard has hailed Zlatan Ibrahimovic for enhancing his winning mentality at Old Trafford this season.
United brought in the likes of Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba to usher in a new era at the club after a string of unsuccessful seasons under former coaches David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
And the former PSG man, in particular, has already had an impact on the 23-year-old’s approach to matches.
“The players that have come in can help a lot,” Lingard told United’s website.
“We’re still getting to know each other better, to learn off each other week in, week out. But with the four signings we’ve made [Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan being the others], I think we have a strong enough squad to win the league this season.”
Lingard added: “The mentality of wanting to win has come into my game more.
“Before games, my first thought was to play well but often if you get the win, the performance will come with it. When Zlatan came in, the first thing he said was he wants to win. Obviously that mentality rubs off on all the team.”
Pogba won four consecutive Serie A titles and a further two Coppa Italia crowns in his four seasons with Juventus. And Lingard was quick to point out he’d done some winning during his first spell at United as well.
“When we won the FA Youth Cup, he was consistent all through the rounds, playing very well,” Lingard said.
“He made our team more stable, sitting in front of the back four and dictating the play. He went on to win trophies [with Juventus] and obviously he’s looking to win more with United now he’s back.”
Asked to recount Pogba’s strengths on the pitch, Lingard hailed a number of aspects to the Frenchman’s game.
“I think he’s got a range of passing and the vision to see a pass. He’s strong — it’s so hard to get the ball off him — and he’s still developing,” he said, before speaking about Pogba’s off-the pitch characteristics.
“He’s a joker in the changing room, always dancing and trying to make you laugh. We have a good bunch of lads, with good team spirit, and I think that can take us to the top this season,” Lingard said.