Manchester United youngster Jesse Lingard has described the “aura” around manager Jose Mourinho, and says the Portuguese has surprised him with his joking nature.
The 23-year-old Lingard scored in Manchester United’s 2-1 Community Shield defeat of Premier League champions Leicester City last Sunday, and has impressed in the preseason thus far despite stiff competition from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and others for a spot in the first team.
Mourinho, known for his sometimes prickly disposition, took over the club this summer following the sacking of former boss Louis van Gaal.
Speaking to gathered media on Thursday, Lingard, while acknowledging the demanding nature of the ex-Chelsea manager’s training sessions, spoke of a more light-hearted Mourinho and praised the two-time Champions League winner’s relaxed way with the United players.
“He’s the main coach and the main manager,” Lingard, a former United academy product, said.
“He takes all the sessions and, while he wants us to work hard, he is always cracking jokes and having banter with the players.
“I thought he’d be very strict but, even though he works us hard and his mind is always on the job at all times, he also has a joke with the players.
“I think that has helped the lads bond with him.
“He has that presence and aura about him, but you can still speak to him about anything and he will always try to help.”