Jesse Lingard believes Manchester United were only a matter of minutes away from turning a battling draw against Burnley into a rousing victory.
Lingard was United’s star turn on Boxing Day, netting a classy back-heeled flick and an injury-time equaliser as they came from two goals down to salvage a point at Old Trafford.
Despite only joining the fray as part of a half-time reshuffle by Jose Mourinho, the England winger should probably have been walking away with the match ball after seeing Clarets keeper Nick Pope deflect a point-blank effort against the crossbar.
Regardless of the stirring finale, United really needed a victory to keep any pretence of a title challenge alive and Lingard feels three points were within touching distance.
“If we had played for another five or 10 minutes, we would have won the game,” he told MUTV.
“I thought we could nick it towards the end but obviously time ran out and now we look forward to the next game (against Southampton).
“We always have that fighting spirit, that never-give-up attitude and we’ll see where it gets us.”
Lingard may have had to wait until the second period to influence the game on this occasion, but he is enjoying a productive time of late.
He has matched last season’s tally of five goals in December alone, with nine across all competitions this season.
And the 25-year-old’s explanation for that return is simple.
“This role, further inside, allows me to be closer to the striker, to get in the box, create more things and obviously have more shots at goal,” he said.
As for Mourinho’s half-time words of advice, he added: “(It) was always believe. Never give up.
“We knew we had another 45 minutes to play so we had to be patient, keep moving the ball, moving Burnley about, and eventually we created two clear-cut chances which we scored from.
“As soon as that (first goal) went in, the crowd went up and it gave us that extra buzz to go and get another. It dropped to me very quickly and it was instinctive again to shoot straight away.”