Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard feels he can return to his best after opening up to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about off-field issues that had “weighed on his shoulders”.
Lingard assumed greater responsibility for his younger brother and sister when his mother fell ill, which impacted his performances for United on the pitch.
But a knock on Solskjaer’s door has helped him to kick-start his season.
“I felt it was best to get everything off my chest,” he told the Daily Mail.
“I am normally quite bubbly and want to put smiles on people’s faces, but people have seen the change in my ways.
“I have been down and glum, just worrying. I felt like everybody just passed all the stuff to me and it weighed on my shoulders. It was like, ‘Here you go Jesse, you deal with this on your own’.
“I wasn’t performing and he [Solskjaer] was on me all the time. He wanted more from me.”
Lingard revealed he had been told he was on his “last chance” by Solskjaer following an incident on social media over the summer.
After explaining his situation to the United boss, the 26-year-old England international was asked to “play with a smile” and has recently started in victories over Tottenham and derby rivals Manchester City.
On Solskjaer’s influence, Lingard added: “He has just told me that everything will be OK. Maybe I just needed someone to say that.
“He said he just wanted the old Jesse back and maybe I can give him that now.
“Sometimes when your worries are so deep you can’t function properly. Now it’s about getting back to my best and I feel I can do that.”