Lingard opens up about his problems at United

In a tell-all interview with Steven Bartlett on the Diary of a CEO podcast, Jesse Lingard opened up about some of the problems he faced during his time at Manchester United, the support he was given by key figures at the club, and his own coping methods. Lingard also touched upon why he felt leaving United was the right choice, and his disappointment at how he was treated by the Old Trafford club.

Lingard spoke of the ‘abuse’ he received from United fans, and how he felt he needed ‘something to try and take the pain away’. He turned to alcohol, and recalled ‘drinking before bed’ in a bid to overcome the endless abuse he was suffering, both on and off the pitch. However, he now realises that turning to alcohol wasn’t the best way to deal with his problems.

I look back now and think, ‘what was I doing that for?’ – I was trying to forget what was going on, but it makes it ten times worse!

Jesse Lingard, speaking to Steven Bartlett on the Diary of a CEO podcast

The midfielder was also keen to speak about the additional responsibilities he found himself with, after his mother was admitted to hospital for depression in 2019. While Lingard understood that his mother needed to receive treatment, he added that he ‘wasn’t there mentally’ for his siblings.

Leaving me with my little sister who was eleven at the time, and my little brother who was fifteen, for me, I was still going through my own things as well.

Lingard was able to confide in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who had returned to the Old Trafford club as manager after the sacking of Jose Mourinho. Lingard said that Solskjaer ‘helped’ him during a challenging period of his life, and that even having someone ask ‘how is your mum?’ showed that there were people who cared.

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Minutes were becoming increasingly difficult to find for Lingard, who thrived during a successful loan spell at West Ham in the second half of the 2020/21 season. In a reunion with ex-United gaffer David Moyes, Lingard scored nine goals and assisted a further five in just 16 appearances for the club. However, when he returned to United and made just four starts in final season at Old Trafford, Lingard decided it was time for a new challenge.

I got offered a contract, but what’s the point? I wasn’t going to play. Yeah, it’s the biggest club in the world, but happiness is more important for me.

The midfielder faced a tough decision – would he return to West Ham, where he had enjoyed great success during his brief stay, or would he head to the City Ground to play for Steve Cooper’s newly-promoted Nottingham Forest? He chose the latter, after ‘things broke down at West Ham’.

Nottingham were like we love you, we want you, the manager will come to your house, the owner wants to fly you to Greece to sign the deal.

However, Lingard was left disappointed by the manner in which United handled his exit. The midfielder told Steven Bartlett that he ‘didn’t really get a send-off… I had been there that long, and think I deserved one.’

When asked if he had lost respect for United, Lingard said the answer was ‘probably, yeah. No balance, no structure, people doing what they want. It was like a free for all. They are so behind with everything. You see City’s facilities, Tottenham’s facilities. People are miles ahead.’

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