Manchester United fans were left astounded with Victor Lindelof’s imperious performance for Sweden as they booked their place at the World Cup in Russia with a superb defensive display.
The Swedes travelled to the San Siro knowing that a clean sheet would be enough to reach the World Cup for the first time since 2006.
And they produced a truly indomitable display at the back as Lindelof sent a massive statement to his doubters with a gritty, indefatigable, composed showing at the back alongside Andreas Granqvist to prevent the Azzurri from reaching the finals for the first time since 1958.
Supporters were quick to heap praise on the 23-year-old for showing exactly why Jose Mourinho shelled out £31m for him over the summer.
Lindelof pretty damn good over 180 minutes. In that low block he’s imperious. Man Utd fans should be very encouraged by his showings vs. Italy.
— Sam Tighe 🐯 (@stighefootball) November 13, 2017
Lindelof is a decent CB. Prob is people are too reactionary . Jose scouted him calm down the man knows defenders,
— kenna (@kennagq) November 14, 2017
Absolutely mental to imagine a World Cup without Italy, Victor Lindelof with an outstanding defensive performance to make it happen!
— The Man Utd Way (@TheManUtdWay) November 13, 2017
Lindelof's been a rock for Sweden these two games against Italy. Still beleive he'll turn it round at United. Vidic was dreadful when we signed him#MUFC
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) November 13, 2017
Lindelof has certainly looked every bit of a £30M centre back over these 2 legs
— Michael Barton (@mrmichaelbarton) November 13, 2017
Why doesn't this Lindelof play for United?
— Tom Mather (@matherto) November 13, 2017
With that horror show against Huddersfield Town still lingering in the minds of supporters, coupled with Marcos Rojo‘s impending return to action, Lindelof needed to pull something out of the bag against Italy.
And in the San Siro cauldron, with blue shirts streaming forward in a kind of inexorable frenzy, Lindelof repelled the four time World Cup winners in truly mesmerising fashion.
The positional issues that have hallmarked his start to life at Old Trafford were nowhere to be seen here. Lindelof never allowed the likes of Manolo Gabbiadini or Ciro Immobile in behind him and dealt assuredly with the crosses that came in from either side.
He created an intractable bloc in the middle that forced the Italians to either play in front of them or out wide, and by the midpoint of the second half they had run out of ideas. For all of their possession and time in Sweden’s half, they only managed four shots on target.
Could this be the start of Lindelof’s long-awaited resurgence at Old Trafford this season?