Victor Lindelof has started to settle at Manchester United; sets sights on first team place

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof has stated that he is starting to settle at the Old Trafford club following his £30 million switch from Benfica earlier in the summer. The Swedish defender finally made his Old Trafford debut in the 3-0 victory over FC Basel in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening, playing well but rarely tested for his defensive abilities. Lindelof will gain some confidence from his performance but would need to be tested to earn a place in the starting XI on a week by week basis, which was something which was suggested in the summer after his arrival with him and Eric Bailly being the chosen due to fortify United defence.

United have been in the safe hands of Bailly and Phil Jones since the start of the season though, but that partnership did not work quite so well after the international break with United conceding their first two goals of the season and dropping their first points of the season with the 2-2 draw against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday evening. Bailly and Jones were both suspended in the opening Champions League match of the season which saw both Lindelof and Chris Smalling recalled to the side – they last played in the UEFA Super Cup, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid.

Lindelof could cost United a further £9 million in add-ons, but for that to happen, he would need to be a regular starter and play a lot of matches, which is something the player will be setting his sights on now he has started to settle and is into the first month of the new season at his new club. Speaking after the 3-0 victory over FC Basel in the Champions League, Lindelof spoke about how he thought his home debut went, with Sky Sports reporting:

“I think it was a very good debut. To play my first match at Old Trafford is something I have really waited for. It felt really good.

“I played my own game and did what I was told to do on the pitch. Now I’m going to leave the match for a while and then watch the replay to see if there’s anything that I could have done better.

“I feel pretty confident and know what I’m able to do.”

Jose Mourinho will most likely revert back to Bailly and Jones as his defence duo against Everton in the Premier League on Sunday but Lindelof will start to become more and more involved in the squad as the matches start to come thick and fast with another five matches to play before the end of the month. He may not be involved in the Premier League yet, but against Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup, which will be played at Old Trafford in a weeks time, the Swede could be involved in a match to gain some more confidence ahead of him contesting for a place in the starting XI on a more regular basis. Lindelof when asked if he had seen the comments by Mourinho, said:

“I have noticed what’s been written, but it’s not something that I have focused on.

“I try to focus on my game and add as much as I can to the team.

“[The defensive competition] feels good. They are all good players and I think it’s easy to play with them all.

“We’re going to play the system the manager thinks is the best. I’m used to playing with four at the back, but if Mourinho wants to play with five or three, that’s no problem at all.”

Paul Pogba did not have the best of starts in the Champions League for United, hobbling off in the 19th minute after suffering a suspected hamstring injury, which could keep him on the sidelines for a number of weeks. Lindelof, however, does not think it will be a problem for United with Pogba not being available for matches, saying:

“It’s tough to lose such a good player. But we have good players who can cover for him.”

Lindelof of a decent defender and Mourinho has seen something in him to suggest he could form a bond and partnership with Bailly. The Portuguese ‘special one’ has seemingly been a long-term admirer of the Swede and was linked with him during the January transfer window, no move materialised for the player with him being the first signing by the manager during his second summer transfer window. It may be time before Lindelof starts to play like he did at Benfica, but the signs are good. You would expect a player to have some teething problems when playing for a new club, in a new, much tougher league, so in the coming weeks and months, as Lindelof starts to become a much bigger figure in the squad, United should have a defence to be proud of.

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