Jesse Lingard believes that Manchester United can challenge for the Premier League title next season if they eradicate their habit of falling short against lesser sides at home.
Jose Mourinho’s men succumbed to home draws against Stoke City, Arsenal, Burnley, West Ham United, Hull City, AFC Bournemouth and Swansea last term – eight games that, on balance of chances created, they should have won easily.
As it was, Man United slumped to sixth spot and, more notably, 24 points behind champions Chelsea.
But Lingard, speaking to the club’s official website, noted that United could challenge for the title if they laid waste to the attacking malaise that plagued their home campaign last year.
“I think there were a lot of positives last season,” he said.
“The manager’s got us well drilled, which we need to take into next season, and if we can add more goals to our game to get wins instead of draws, I don’t see why we can’t be challenging.”
The story of United’s attacking potency over the last few years has been a gradual one: under Louis van Gaal, the side couldn’t even put together chances, let alone finish them; with Mourinho, chances are abundant, but the lack of precision in the final third – that last, most crucial touch – has been painful to see.
And yet, supporters should be optimistic for that exact same reason. Every player will know what needs to be done: a psychological shift, above anything. Consolidating that attacking process and having a greater mastery over it is key, and the imminent arrival of Romelu Lukaku serves as a massive step in the right direction.