Lingard is United’s bright light

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With just over an hour played at Stamford Bridge, Lingard, a 23-year-old forward with fewer than 15 United appearances to his name, showed a touch of class to silence the home crowd.

A low cross from 19-year-old Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was laid back by Wayne Rooney to Lingard about 12 metres from goal.

Facing away from goal, Lingard brilliantly twisted around before firing a half-volley into the top corner of the net beyond the reach of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

With Euro 2016 four months away, Hodgson was shown on television beaming with delight after the goal, which had echoes of England youngster Delli Alli's dazzling volley on the turn for Tottenham Hotspur against Crystal Palace on Jan. 23.

Even Chelsea's interim manager Guus Hiddink praised Lingard's strike. “You have to say it was a beautiful goal, just beautiful,” said the Dutchman.

Lingard was called up to the senior England squad for the first time for the friendly with France in November.

He has scored four goals for United this season, with two in successive games against Stoke City on Tuesday and now Chelsea.

Although United were denied victory by a late Diego Costa goal, their performance was far brighter than most of the football they had played until a recent upturn in form.

United manager Louis van Gaal thought Lingard's goal was “outstanding” and, although he was frustrated they had dropped two points, the Dutchman was generally upbeat.

“I feel we didn't reward ourselves with a victory but we were the better team. Until the last quarter we played very well and could have scored more goals. But you have to control the game better and we did not do that,” he told reporters.

“It wasn't a lack of concentration, it is not being composed when you are defending. When we have the ball we have to keep the ball.

“You need to give the right pass at the right moment and we did not do that when Chelsea scored. Chelsea are a very good team and you play like we played and don't reward yourself, it is disappointing and frustrating.”

The result meant United lost ground in the race for Champions League places because league leaders Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal all won.

But they gained a point on fourth-placed Manchester City, who lost to Leicester, and now trail their local rivals, who occupy the last Champions League qualifying spot, by six points. – Reuters

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