Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says Victor Lindelof needs time but also opportunities after making a slow start to his Old Trafford career.
Lindelof is yet to play in the Premier League after signing from Benfica for an initial €35million in June, making just three appearances in all competitions.
Sweden boss Janne Andersson has already expressed frustration over the defender’s lack of game-time.
Mourinho, though, insists Lindelof’s adaptation to United will continue to be a gradual process and does not want the 23-year-old to be put under undue pressure.
The centre-back is in contention to play when United face CSKA Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday, given Phil Jones will miss the game.
“Victor will be given time and no pressure for his evolution,” said Mourinho.
“He is a very specific position on the pitch and he needs time. And we will give him time but also opportunities but just time and no opportunity the evolution gets slower.
“He needs time and no pressure. The fact he played against Basel and in future he will have more opportunity to play he will improve step by step.”
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Mourinho believes United will be facing a CSKA team that is stronger than he has seen at any point in his time as a top-level manager.
“I have faced CSKA with Real Madrid, Chelsea and now with United,” he said.
“I always like to be back in Moscow – it is a beautiful city that gets better each time I come. It is a pleasure.
“It is the best CSKA I’m going to play against, the best team I face with CSKA as an opponent.
“But I don’t like to speak about opponents because if I speak good I motivate them and if I speak bad I motivate them. I play many times against CSKA and I think this is the best CSKA Moscow side I have faced.”
Mourinho also welcomed the Football Association’s decision not to pursue charges against him after he was sent off against Southampton in Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League victory at St Mary’s.
“If I am not punished it is because there were no reasons for the sending off,” he said.
“I am happy that was recognised and that I can be doing my work normally against Crystal Palace. That is enough for me.”
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