Wilfried Zaha scored a fantastic goal for Manchester United’s Under-21s and won the free-kick for the second goal in last night’s 2-0 victory over Blackburn and it has clearly put him in a chirpy mood.
You can’t underestimate the importance of a goal on the mindset of any player, especially a 20-year-old who is yet to find his feet after a £15 million move to United.
There’s no coincidence that he uploaded a good morning message the day after he scored. Confidence is everything with a winger, as United’s first team players have shown, and although this goal carries little significance on paper, it could make the world of difference to Zaha.
One thing that stood out about Zaha’s performance yesterday was that he really showed his mental strength. In the first half, he was being double marked out of the game and had no success in his new left wing position but instead of letting his head drop, he came out in the second half and took the game to Blackburn.
A quick reshuffle put Fabio in his natural left back position and it gave Zaha more space on the ball which he punished Blackburn with. He finished with a goal and an assist to his name but in reality, he could easily have had a hat-trick if luck was on his side.
His goal was almost like a shot of adrenalin in his arm. After it, Blackburn didn’t know what to do with him. Even when they had six players surrounding him to try and tackle him, he still wriggled a pass away and drew a foul.
I doubt Zaha expected the going to be this tough at Old Trafford this season but performances like that against Blackburn will fill both Zaha and the fans with confidence that he is progressing at United, albeit behind closed doors right now.