Victor Lindelof impressed himself with his first appearance at Old Trafford for Manchester United, describing his performance against Basel as “very good”.
Following a poor performance against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, the Sweden defender – a €45milion buy from Benfica in June – was left out of United’s first four Premier League teams this season, failing to even make the substitutes’ bench on three of those occasions.
But Lindelof returned to partner Chris Smalling due to the suspensions of regular starters Phil Jones and Eric Bailly against Basel and hopes to build on his showing in the 3-0 Champions League victory on Tuesday.
“I think it was a very good debut,” Lindelof, 23, told reporters. “To play my first match at Old Trafford is something I have really waited for. It felt really good.
“I played my own game and did what I was told to do on the pitch. Now I’m going to watch the replay to see if there’s anything that I could have done better.
“I feel pretty confident and know what I’m able to do. That’s what I was trying to do on the pitch.”
Lindelof is aware of manager Jose Mourinho’s comments suggesting he will need time to adapt to Premier League football, but is trying to ignore the debate over his mixed start to life at United.
He is willing to play in whatever system Mourinho deploys in a tough battle for defensive spots, which will become more competitive when Marcos Rojo returns from a knee problem.
“I have noticed what’s been written, but it’s not something that I have focused on,” he said. “I try to focus on my game and add as much as I can to the team.
“They [the defenders] are all good players and I think it’s easy to play with them all.
“We’re going to play the system the manager thinks is the best. I’m used to playing with four at the back, but if Mourinho wants to play with five or three, that’s no problem at all.”
— Victor Lindelöf (@vlindelof) September 13, 2017
Mourinho himself has been impressed by Lindelof’s ability to bring the ball out of defence, suggesting he could use him in a more advanced role.
The United boss said: “If Lindelof has to play in the Premier League I have no problem with that.
“Can he make a mistake that comes with adapting to the nature of the Premier League? I think he can.
“But the nature of the Premier League is changing and I think we need defenders who can play, who can come into the midfield, bringing the ball, passing, because it’s becoming really defensive. We are going to face many teams with five in the back, plus two, three in front.
“Victor, out of all our defenders, is probably the one with more quality when he attacks the space in midfield, so yes he is going to play midfield, he is going to play in the Premier League.”