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20th Sep 2021

In another magical piece of analysis, Michael Owen says Jesse Lingard should have celebrated against West Ham

Daniel Brown

“It’s the only thing that lets him down there”

Michael Owen has criticised Jesse Lingard for not celebrating his stunning late winner against former club West Ham on Sunday.

The midfielder enjoyed an impressive loan spell with the Hammers last season, scoring nine goals and grabbing five assists in just 16 appearances, but came off the bench to score an 89th minute winner against his former employers.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side went behind in the game after Said Benrahma’s deflected strike bounced past a stranded David De Gea in the United goal, however, the Red Devils reacted well and were soon level thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s fourth goal in three games following his return to Old Trafford in the summer.

It looked like the game was heading for a draw before substitute Lingard – back at the London Stadium for the first time since his loan spell last season – curled a strike into the top corner of the West Ham goal.

However, David Moyes’ men were given an unlikely lifeline when they were awarded a penalty as Andriy Yarmolenko’s attempted cross hit Luke Shaw’s outstretched arm – with VAR deeming it worthy of a review, with the penalty awarded soon after.

In what looked to be a bold decision, the Hammers sent on club captain Mark Noble to take the spot kick.

The risky decision failed to pay off as De Gea stood strong to save the penalty and ensure that Lingard’s strike secured all three points for United.

After making a shocking and costly error against Young Boys in United’s midweek Champions League tie, Sunday’s winner went a long way in helping Lingard to redeem himself.

Despite this, former Manchester United and England forward Owen has revealed that he was less than impressed with the 28-year-old’s decision not to celebrate the goal, stating that if he didn’t want to score himself, he should’ve ‘passed to ball’.

“The finish is absolutely sublime,’ Owen told Premier League Productions. “The only thing that is poor about the whole scenario is that he doesn’t celebrate.

“I can’t believe players don’t celebrate when they score a goal against their old club, he was only there two minutes.

“If he didn’t want to score, if he’s not that happy don’t pull the trigger, pass the ball, if that’s the case.

“It’s the only thing that lets him down there, because everything else is absolutely spectacular.”

Speaking on his muted celebrations following his goal, Lingard admitted that he decided not to celebrate out of respect to the club who he helped qualify for the Europa League last season.

‘They supported me in the loan spell and gave me a great reception, so it was only right to pay them back,” Lingard told MUTV.

“It was a great reception from the West Ham fans. I had a brilliant time here, but I had to do my bit.”

Solskjaer has also revealed that Lingard will start against the Hammers on Wednesday night when the two teams face-off again, this time in the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford.

After putting his error in midweek behind him – thanks to support from his teammates and staff – the Englishman admits that he is now looking forward to challenging for trophies.

“That’s football. It’s the highs and lows of football, and the lads and the staff and fans have been behind me all week and it was great to get minutes and come on,’ said Lingard.

“The main aim is to obviously win a trophy this season and I think we’ve got the squad depth to do that.

“Everyone’s hungry to play and everyone’s working hard in training to get in that matchday squad.

“Everyone’s always ready to play, so the subs have got to be ready to make a difference.

‘They’re always tough games against West Ham and to play them back to back is a little bit different, but we’ll go into that game full of confidence.”