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Man United's Solskjaer: Lingard back to best after off-field issues

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MANCHESTER -- Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Jesse Lingard is back to his best after hinting off-field issues have contributed to the midfielder's loss of form.

Lingard had not made a Premier League start since September before returning to the team to play a key role in back-to-back victories over Tottenham and Manchester City.

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"Every one of us have things to deal with on the pitch and off the pitch and what he has had to deal with, that will be between us," Solskjaer said. "It's great to see him back.

"He's Man United through and through. He's a Red, he's got a great attitude and a great work rate."

Lingard was caught up in controversy over the summer when he accidentally posted a video on Instagram of his friend simulating sex with a pillow in a hotel room. He was reprimanded by Solskjaer over the incident.

This season the 26-year-old has spent two spells on the sidelines with injury and lost his place in the England squad but sent a message to boss Gareth Southgate ahead of Euro 2020 with two impressive displays against Spurs and City.

Some United supporters were quick to jump on Lingard's back during his dip in form but Solskjaer has told fans they cannot always see the full picture.

"You can criticise anyone about anything, that's the privilege some people think they have," Solskjaer said. "For me as a manager, I have to look after these boys in the good and the bad times.

"It's great to work with him. I had him in the reserves, I gave him his debut in the reserves against Burnley. It's good to see him back to his old self."

After collecting six points from two tough games in the space of four days, United have moved up to fifth in the table -- five points off the top four. They have a favourable run over Christmas with games against Everton, Watford, Newcastle and Burnley before a trip to Arsenal on New Year's Day and, after struggling against so-classed lesser teams this season, Solskjaer said it is down to him to lift his players for every game -- not just those against the top six.

"That's up to me, to make sure that for every single game," Solskjaer said. "They know they have to earn the right to win a game of football.

"You've got to earn the right to win. It's consistency and just being better at taking care of our chances. We've had chances in every single game.

"There are so many games I could go through that we should have won. We know that we have to get better results against teams that drop deeper. We'll improve on that."

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