Manchester United FC

Tahith Chong thanks Lingard and shows midfield versatility

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You’re an exciting flair player who likes to get fans off their seats so have you missed them when you’re dribbling?
“I don’t even think it’s only that. Sometimes, in a game, it might be the last 15 minutes and you’re feeling a bit tired. Sometimes the fans can push you through. If it’s in the last five minutes, just to make that extra yard or extra slide-tackle, stuff like that. The fans are a massive part of that and it’s just nice to have them back really.”

You’ve been playing in a slightly different role for Birmingham to what we’d seen at United – can you explain it for us?
“So I have played two or three different positions now. Obviously, we play most of the games with five or three at the back, whichever way you look at it, and I’ve been mostly in midfield. Probably on the left side of midfield if we play three or four. On the left side or into the no.10 position.”

Is it important for you to show your versatility so you’re able to perform in a number of areas?
“Well, for me, development-wise, it’s been very good. I’m learning new stuff every day and that different positions require different things that you may have to do. These are things I may have to do to help the team out and it’s been a very good experience for me. As a player, I can feel I am developing different aspects of the game.”

We hear there was an unusual incident in the Championship game at Luton, when even the home fans applauded you when you were substituted, such was your impact…
“Yeah, that was lovely from their fans, obviously, to do that. We played well, I feel like we played as a team but it was a lovely gesture from the Luton fans really.”

It shows how well you are doing – you’ve also won some Man of the Match awards…
“I feel like it’s nice when you get it obviously but, for me personally, the main focus is on trying to help the team win games. It’s about trying to help the team get points so I always feel it’s a bonus. It’s more about trying to help the team to get points in the games really.”

You’ve gone close to scoring a few times – do you feel a goal is coming soon?
“Yeah, I think I’ve been quite close and am getting closer and closer in every game really! I feel like one is coming in the coming weeks, for sure.”

You have managed some assists so is it a case of just getting on that scoresheet as well?
“Exactly. Like I said, I’ve been quite close – there was one last time out [against Nottingham Forest] when I was quite unlucky. The keeper got a touch on it and it hit a post and came back out. I’ve been getting very close so I think it’s going to come soon.”

There has been a bit of a goal drought at home but do you feel it will just take one to go in to open the floodgates?
“I think if you look at the games we’ve played, we’ve been very unlucky. Even the game against Forest, we hit the post twice and had two good chances after that. They get one not even chance and it hits the top bins from outside the box and I think it’s one of those things at the moment where, if we score first, we’d win that game. But we’re doing a lot of things well and there are a lot of positives to take as well. It’s about turning that around and hopefully getting the first goal in whatever game to go on to win it really.”

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