Victor Lindelof has now transformed into Manchester United’s most reliant centre-back. This will certainly be a welcome improvement for the Red Devils, considering how the Swede often faltered during his opening months with the English giants.
His follies often single-handedly cost United goals, leading to his transfer fee to be the butt of many jokes. However, it turns that fellow compatriot Zlatan Ibrahimovic fed him some important words that may have come into effect now.
Ibrahimovic, in a recent interview, revealed: “I think he had a difficult time in the beginning, but I think that is typical Swedish. When you come somewhere, you are friendly to everybody. You play, you don’t play, you still feel in friendly situation.”
The striker went on to add: “I explained to him, ‘listen, all these players are conquerors. You’re here to survive. You’re not here to be friendly to everybody so you need to perform.
“If you don’t perform, the club has no problems with selling [you]. That’s the way it is. And I think he’s been doing good lately. He’s playing much more after a first year of struggling.”
Tough love, but it is the precise form of advice that may have played well into Lindelof’s performance. The defender has been crucial for United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and the conversation has since shifted to providing the Swede with an able partner at the back.
Ibrahimovic was quite hopeful for the 24-year-old’s future, saying: “From the national team, he is the only one playing for a big club, so he gets to feel what it’s all about. That is what I’ve been through for twenty years.
“Not ‘normal’ clubs. It’s not an easy world but now he gets to feel it. Hopefully, he can continue to focus and train like he does because he trains really good and he is professional.”