It’s been a fairly bleak season for Man United so far.
Having been held to a goalless bore-draw by Crystal Palace on Saturday, Jose Mourinho’s side are now 14 points adrift of table-topping Man City.
But it wasn’t all bad, as the ever-improving Victor Lindelof provided the one bright spark of the day.
As yesterday’s match reached the final few minutes, the Swedish defender was clearly suffering from some kind of thigh problem.
But he was forced to play on through the pain as Mourinho had already used all three of his permitted substitutions.
And with Palace attempting one final attack – with James McArthur feeding the ball through to Jordan Ayew on the wing – a hobbling Lindelof chased down forward and intercepted the pass ahead of Patrick van Aanholt, before clearing the ball up-field.
It was a moment of true defensive heroism, and will surely endear him to the United faithful.
After the game, Mourinho made it clear he was unhappy that the defender had played a full match for Sweden in their clash against Russia on Tuesday.
Speaking to MUTV, he said: “I always say this is the period of the injuries. If they are not injured with the national teams, they come to the clubs and are injured.
“He played against Russia three days ago or two days ago, but of course, we need him when he plays.
“He was probably our best player. He was a brave lad, but he probably punished himself. I don’t know how long he will be out, but he is a fantastic example.”
It’s taken a little while for Lindelof to settle at United since his big-money transfer from Benfica last summer, but he’s become a back-line regular this season, often starting alongside Chris Smalling.
He’s been heavily praised by fans and pundits alike in recent weeks, notably for his performances against Juventus in the Champions League.
United’s next game is against Young Boys on Tuesday, but it’s unlikely Lindelof will be fit enough to play.
- Why are Man United offering two 33-year-old converted full-backs new contracts?
- Looking back at all the players Man United have tried at right-back since Gary Neville’s retirement
- Reliving the exact moment David De Gea went from Man United flop to world class superstar
WATCH: LOVE OF THE GAME – EPISODE 2