Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof says he is getting to grips with the competitiveness of the Premier League.
The defender was made to wait three months for his first league start following his £31 million transfer in the summer, with Jose Mourinho insisting the 23-year-old needed time to adapt to English football after just two seasons with Benfica’s first team.
But injuries to Phil Jones and Eric Bailly presented Lindelof with the chance to start back-to-back games in the Premier League against Newcastle and Brighton. And the Sweden international believes he is starting to come to terms with the “competitiveness” of England’s top-flight — where he could start again against Watford on Tuesday night with Jones and Bailly expected to be ruled out.
“Obviously, the league here is much tougher than Portugal,” Lindelof told United Review “Over there, you have good teams but you have the top teams that are always the favourites in every game and winning almost every game.
“Here, it’s much more difficult and you have tough games every week. That’s the biggest the change, the competitiveness you have in the league.”
Despite managing Lindelof’s workload carefully — he has started seven games this season — Mourinho has spoken highly of his summer signing. It is something the centre-back says has helped during a challenging start to his career at Old Trafford.
“I like him a lot,” Lindelof added. “He’s a very good coach, in my opinion, the best in the world and, for me to be able to work with him, is a pleasure.
“All of the staff and coaches as well, they are great and I am learning a lot from them. I’m just trying to do my best to work hard every day and listen to them because they know a lot about football, so it’s about listening and learning.”
Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.