Jesse Lingard relishing Real challenge during pre-season

Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard has stated that he hopes the Old Trafford club can look back at previous matches and beat Real Madrid on their pre-season tour of the United States of America which will commence on Sunday when the squad departs Manchester for Los Angeles. It won’t be the last time United face the Madrid club this summer though with the UEFA Super Cup set to be played in Macedonia on the 8th August where the UEFA Champions League holders will be pitted against United, the holders of the UEFA Europa League.

United will play Real Madrid later this month at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, where they beat Barcelona with Lingard on the scoresheet the last time they played in the stadium in the summer of 2015. Speaking to the official Manchester United website, Warrington-born Lingard said:

“We’re used to playing top teams in pre-season, such as Real Madrid and Barcelona, and it’s always a good experience. Hopefully, we can perform well in those games and take good form into the new season. Every tour game is important, even if it’s just to build match fitness, and it’s good that everyone can get a run out and get a taste of what it’s like and take that forward. 

“It’ll be good to be back playing at that stadium. I remember the team we had in the second half [in the 3-1 win over Barcelona in 2015] was quite a young team, including myself, Andreas Pereira, Adnan Januzaj, Tyler Blackett and James Wilson, but we linked up really well and got the win.

“This year, I’m most looking forward to the games themselves and building team spirit with the lads. Pre-season tours are good for bonding with each other, and in our free time there’s the chance to go out and explore.”

Lingard can cast his mind back to the 2016/17 season where United won the FA Community Shield, then went on to lift the first piece of major silverware in beating Southampton to lift the EFL Cup, now the Carabao Cup and then on that day in May, beat Ajax 2-0 in Stockholm to lift the UEFA Europa League, the first time United have lifted the trophy, not for the want of trying, back when it was called the UEFA Cup, of course. Lingard scored at Wembley in the Community Shield against Leicester City, also scoring in the EFL Cup final, making it his third time scoring a goal at Wembley after scoring in the Emirates FA Cup final the previous season. When asked about what came to his mind during pre-season, Lingard concluded by saying:

“Running! Last summer, we did a lot of work with the ball but we were still running, so we had the best of both. I think there were a lot of positives last season. The manager’s got us well drilled, which we need to take into next season, and if we can add more goals to our game to get wins instead of draws, I don’t see why we can’t be challenging.”

The pre-season will be a good one for United. It will be the first pre-season for Paul Pogba, signing for the club just before the Premier League season started last season, not even having a pre-season with Juventus. Victor Lindelof, the club’s first signing this summer will play his first matches, against some great teams and Romelu Lukaku, if his deal crosses the line, will make his first appearances in a Manchester United shirt. There could be some other changes too with United also linked to Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic and Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic, but Wayne Rooney may have left the club before United kick a ball against LA Galaxy on Saturday 15th July 2017.

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