Lingard replaced Juan Mata at the halfway mark with Man United already 2-0 up. It was the 22-year-old’s second appearance in the Premier League, his first since the opening day of last season, and he performed admirably on the biggest stage.
Van Gaal said after the game that he was happy with the youngsters performance, as he constantly got up and down the right-hand flank. It was a big moment of Lingard, to play his part in a huge Premier League win and he was evidently delighted.
Lingard told MUTV: “It was a great win away from home, it was good to bounce back from the Arsenal defeat but we prepared well all week for the game and were ready to start on the front foot.
“It was a good win and obviously it’s good to get minutes on the pitch and to take part in helping the team win the game. Whenever the manager wants me to play then I will do a job.”
At half-time, Lingard came on in place of Juan Mata in what van Gaal later confirmed was a tactical change. The winger gave us an insight as to what the manager said.
He added: “He just told me to come inside when we had the ball and defend on the inside as well. He told me to watch [Brendan] Galloway’s runs because he was staying high up the pitch in the first half so he wanted me to track his runs in the second half.
“On another day, with the luck of the bounce, I would have scored but that is part and parcel of football. As long as we got the three points, that’s good enough.”
“Quite a few people from my family came down [to Goodison Park]. Obviously I wasn’t sure if I would be involved because I was on the bench but for them to see me on the pitch was a massive honour.”
Lingard’s performance was encouraging, as he was industrious down the right wing and could even have had a goal, with a strike from outside the box which he skewed wide. With United competing on all four fronts this season, the strength in depth in the squad will be crucial.
Players like Lingard will definitely be needed more and more as the season goes on and more displays like the one at Goodison Park would be welcomed.