Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has backed defender Victor Lindelof to succeed at the club following his £30m from Benfica, despite a tough start to life in a United shirt for the young Swede during the summer tour so far.
Lindelof’s unofficial debut against LA Galaxy was marred when he skied the ball in front of an open net, while he also drew criticism on social media when he clumsily clattered Theo Hernandez to give away a penalty against Real Madrid, and then poorly missed in the penalty shootout himself.
He’s looked nervous and doesn’t quite appear to be up to speed with his new teammates, but Mourinho insists that his progress has been good and the club will give him time to settle.
“Step by step. Benfica is a giant club, I always think that players coming from Benfica come mentally ready because it is a big club and the responsibility to play for them makes players ready,” Mourinho commented after Sunday night’s 3-0 win over Valerenga (ManUtd.com).
“But the Portuguese league is different and has different qualities. Benfica is one of the dominant teams, so he’s more used to playing with the ball than without the ball, so he needs his time and we are going to give him his time to develop,” the boss added.
“Such a young player needs time. Manchester United is a huge club with huge responsibility; the Premier League is the same. So let’s give him time, but we’re happy with what he is doing, step by step.”
Lindelof played another half of football against Valerenge, while Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku and youngster Scott McTominay scored the goals on the night.
For McTominay, who was handed a surprise debut by Mourinho towards the end of last season, it was a special moment after an impressive summer so far.
“Coming over with the first team for a start and just playing games with them in pre-season and then obviously to get my first senior goal – it’s the best feeling in the world,” he told MUTV.
“It’s the best moment of my life so you just want more and more of this. This is what you work for every single day in training, dedicating yourself. I’m just going to enjoy it now and push forward to do my best.”