Jesse Lingard happy with Man Utd FA Cup win after Champions League misery
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 18/03/18 1:20pm
Jesse Lingard has saluted Manchester United's spirit having reached the FA Cup semi-finals after a tumultuous week.
United beat Brighton 2-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday thanks to headed goals from Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic four days on from being dumped out of the Champions League by Sevilla.
It was a display though that didn't please manager Jose Mourinho, who said his players lacked "class and personality" and some had been "scared" to play.
Lingard was more upbeat in assessing United's trying week and is looking forward to another trip to Wembley.
The England winger Lingard told the club's website: "Brighton sat back and hit us on the counter-attack a few times, which we were obviously aware of before the match, but we knew we needed to win and we got the win, which was the most important thing.
"Of course (confidence took a knock after Tuesday night). It's always difficult for a team to be knocked out of a competition, but we showed the character to bounce back and not let anything faze us."
The FA Cup is the only competition offering a realistic chance of silverware this season to United, who are 16 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City in second place.
Lingard added: "Semi-finals are always big and it's like the final, you could say, at a neutral ground, so we're excited.
"Any opportunity to win a trophy is always good for the team and the fans, so if we can get a trophy out of the season, it'll be good.
"The semi-final keeps everyone motivated and we have something to look forward to, but saying that, in the Premier League, we need to maintain that second spot and keep the pressure on at the top."
Lukaku and Matic are two players Mourinho had highlighted as consistent performers during his lengthy, impassioned speech in Friday's extraordinary media conference.
Lukaku's effort against Brighton was his 25th goal for United since joining them last summer.
And Lingard said of the striker: "We know what he possesses and he has that presence up front for us. He's that lone man who holds the ball up well for us. For him to score that many goals at this time of the season is great."