Victor Lindelof’s lack of confidence led to Jose Mourinho using a three-man defence in Manchester United’s 2–0 victory against Swansea City.
Lindelof played his third game in the space of a week on Tuesday evening, having started against Portuguese champions Benfica in the UEFA Champions League and then come on after just 23 minutes to replace injured Phil Jones against Huddersfield town on Saturday.
In that 2-1 shock defeat against Huddersfield, Lindelof was at fault for the second goal, mistiming a header from a long ball and allowing Laurent Depoitre to round David de Gea and double the Terriers’ lead.
The Swedish defender was widely lambasted for that mistake, though manager Mourinho refused to single him out for criticism after Saturday’s game, with most of United’s side failing to impress.
“I decided to play with three because Victor was not coming with his confidence levels very, very high,” Mourinho revealed.
“So I decided to play both with the experience of Smalling and we were ok.
“It was good for the players to get confidence.”
Lindelof has struggled at the start of the United career, having joined from Benfica £30.7 million in the summer. However, many great players Old Trafford have started their careers in less than excellent form, including Lindelof’s current teammate David de Gea who is now widely seen as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
He has shown his talent at Benfica and with Sweden, and though it may take time to demonstrate that at United, that time has to be afforded to him as it was to de Gea, to Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra in years gone by.