Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard claims the players “feel free” under new manager Jose Mourinho.
The 23-year-old scored a sublime solo goal as United claimed a 2-1 win over Leicester City in Sunday’s Community Shield clash at Wembley, in which Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late header secured a first trophy for Mourinho since he took over at Old Trafford in May.
Lingard enjoyed a promising season under Louis van Gaal in 2015-16 and scored the winning goal in the FA Cup final – a match which proved to be the Dutch manager’s last in charge of the club.
Van Gaal was often criticised for encouraging a more prosaic style during his two-year United spell, and Lingard admits that the attacking players have already begun to feel liberated since Mourinho stepped into the role.
“He’s [Mourinho] given the front four licence to mix up positions and it makes you feel free,” Lingard told BT Sport. “He’s a great manager and he’s won a lot over the years. But the main thing is he makes you feel free.”
Lingard was delighted to start the season with silverware and a win over the Premier League champions, who equalised early in the second half through striker Jamie Vardy.
“Both teams played really well, we kept the ball really well, they created chances as well. It’s a massive plus for us,” said Lingard.
“Playing at Wembley is massive but obviously scoring is a massive as well.”
Lingard was substituted after being caught by Robert Huth and he was seen applying an ice pack to his foot in the United dugout, but he is confident he will be fit for his side’s league opener away to Bournemouth next Sunday.
“It’s just my foot, it’s not too bad,” he added. “I should be okay for the next game.”