Manchester United have won four and lost four of their 12 league games this season and their four defeats came against Crystal Palace, West Ham United, Newcastle United and AFC Bournemouth.
The former three are currently placed in the bottom half of the table, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been successful in avoiding defeats against clubs who are placed above them in the table.
Victor Lindelöf won the Swedish Golden Ball award for second year in a row and has this week a lengthy interview to Aftonbladet to talk about various things, including the reason behind United’s struggles against clubs that are placed below them.
“I generally think there is one thing we need to get better at if we are going to get back to the level Manchester United should be at: that’s winning matches week in and week out. Sometimes it does not have to be neat, but you should win anyway,” he said.
“There’s been a bit of a problem. If we go into the matches against big clubs, we’re all connected, and we get results. Then a few days go by and we meet a slightly lower team, then we have to go in exactly the same way, not get comfortable.
“Those tendencies have existed even in these matches. We start well, play fast and get to positions – but then we stop with it after 20 minutes, complicate it and play poorly.”
Manchester United’s mixed start to this season has seen them receive heavy criticism, especially from former players in the media. Aftonbladet mention the likes of Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Rio Ferdinand and ask Lindelöf if the criticism bothers him.
Responding to that, the defender explained: “It’s the same thing there. It is their job to talk and talk, and in England the criticism is very harsh.
“If something’s a little bad, then they say it’s disastrous. It’s the culture. I myself know if I have done something bad and I have no problem with people talking about it.”
Even if the centre-back ends up making mistakes during matches, the Swede explained he would prefer to continue taking risks rather than playing safe.
“I know what player I should be and I have to play in a certain way. If I miss a pass then I will keep trying again, playing with risk even if I missed, I think I learned it,” Lindelöf stressed.
“It has taken several years. It is easy to start choosing the simple options if you have missed a few passes, it is about relying on yourself.”
Lindelöf struggled in his first season at United, but has now established himself as one of the regulars in their starting XI. He has now set a new goal for himself.
“I’ve established myself in United, am in the starting eleven every week, so I’ve come a little way. Now it is important to work, work, work to be able to dream of becoming one of the best in the world. I know I have that capacity,” the player adds.
“If I don’t believe in myself – who’s going to do it? I have to believe it to be able to put this work down every day. Get up, go to work out even though it is raining, and give it everything.
“I do it for myself. And now I do it for my son too. How do I explain… I can’t find the right words now. He gives me the power to cope even more. I wake up and see him happy, get extra energy. Everything I do now I do for him.”