Manchester United struggles are down to players, not Louis van Gaal, insists Jesse Lingard

Striker says players must take responsibility for poor season, but says they are now playing with greater freedom

Jesse Lingard insists Manchester United's players, rather than Louis van Gaal, who are to blame for the club's poor form this season.

United recorded back-to-back wins for just the second time in three months on Tuesday as they beat Stoke City 3-0.

The excellent display of vibrant attacking football was in complete contrast to most of the performances under Van Gaal this season.

United are fifth in the table and Van Gaal has come in for fierce criticism for much of the campaign, but Lingard is adamant the manager is not to blame for United's predicament.

“With the results, it’s not the manager’s fault,” said the United midfielder, who put the hosts one up against the Potters with his third goal for the club.

“We are the ones who have been on the pitch playing. On Tuesday, you’ve seen that we can get results we need if we put our mind to it.”

Lingard’s stooping header put United ahead in the 14th minute and Anthony Martial scored a stunner to double the hosts’ lead before Wayne Rooney wrapped up the win.

Van Gaal's team looked nothing like the one that has recorded seven goalless draws this season. Martial in particular starred on the left-hand side, giving Glen Johnson and then Phil Bardsley a torrid time with his pace and trickery.

The Red Devils have now scored six goals in their last two matches and Lingard suggested Van Gaal had removed the shackles with his tactical orders recently.


“Now we are playing with that freedom and we've got a lot of energy in the team," said Lingard, who joined the club aged seven. "To be mixing up the positions and entertain the crowd, we'll have to do that, but it's that freedom that we have, it's a weight off our shoulders and we can just play football now."

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