Victor Lindelof has spoken out about being dropped by Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, making note of the importance of getting to grips with a club of such magnitude before being thrown into the deep end.
The Swede became Mourinho’s first signing of the transfer window back in June, arriving from Benfica for £31m, but has struggled for assurance during the early stages of the campaign and drew criticism for his performance against Real Madrid.
His manager recently admitted that the clash with the European champions came too soon and hasn’t handed him a minute of action in the Premier League so far this season.
And Lindelof, reflecting on his United career so far, noted that he has focused on imbibing the culture of the club and getting to know Mourinho’s style of play.
“It has been good and very important for me to get to know the club, everything around, all the players, leaders and the system,” he said. “It a very important time for me.”
“It’s clear there is a difference. It’s clear there are more eyes on Manchester United than at Benfica.”
We cannot write off Lindelof so early into his career, nor even panic. Mourinho has always done this with new arrivals, from Ricardo Carvalho in 2004 to Henrikh Mkhitaryan last year, and time and time again has been vindicated in his sheltering approach.
He will receive a chance against Basel, then Burton Albion, and slowly start to immerse himself in the side, bit by bit. Patience and hard work is key – especially under Mourinho.
As long as Lindelof puts in the hard yards and shows the right kind of desire, he will emerge as an important aspect of United’s defensive frontier over the next few months. This has always been a question of having the right mentality as opposed to ability, and the Swede clearly appreciates that this process – like all step-ups in life – will take time.