Jesse Lingard has called on Manchester United to work on their mentality after dropping points against mid-table clubs this season.
While the Red Devils managed to beat both Manchester City and Tottenham in December, the club also drew with Everton and recently lost 2-0 to Watford.
Those stuttering results see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side sitting eighth in the Premier League – seven points shy of fourth-placed Chelsea.
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Ahead of United’s next match against Newcastle, Lingard has suggested his side’s struggles against weaker teams could be down to a sense of complacency.
“It’s strange. Maybe it’s a mindset thing. Maybe it’s our mentality going into the match thinking we’ve already won the game,” Lingard told the Daily Mail.
“If we keep the consistency and mentality we had against City and Tottenham, I don’t see why we can’t win every game.
“It seems like our mentality changes. To keep that consistency throughout the rest of the season when we come against the mid-table teams, we need to have the same mentality that we did going into the City and Tottenham game.
“When we start with energy and on the front foot, we’ll cause teams problems all day long.”
Lingard, now 27, recently captained the Red Devils in a Europa League match against Astana and he’s eager to continue setting an example for the club’s younger players.
“I’m in between at the moment. I said at the start of the season that I would like to become a bit of a leader on and off the pitch,” he said.
“I’ve always come through the ranks and not been that vocal, but now I’d like to take that leadership on and be a bit more responsible in the changing room before games. I’ve started to do that.
“We’ve got a lot of the academy boys coming through the ranks now. They’re getting their time to shine and are doing really well, and we’ve got experienced players as well who have won trophies. That blend is working perfectly for us at the moment.”
Struggling to contribute in the final third for United, Lingard has fallen out of the England squad but he’s eager put his name back in contention ahead of Euro 2020.
Gareth Southgate is currently flooded for options in the final third, yet the Red Devils attacker isn’t giving up hope of working his way into the Three Lions squad again.
“I’m 100 percent determined to get back in,” Lingard said. ‘I’m back to my old self and that’s what Ole and Gareth [Southgate] want to see.
“For me, it’s doing well for Man United first and then England will come. I’ve just got to keep what I’ve been doing for the last few games.”