Mourinho defends Lingard's lucrative new contract

The England international has committed to fresh terms at Old Trafford which will reportedly see him earn £100,000-a-week over the next four years

Jose Mourinho has justified Manchester United’s decision to hand Jesse Lingard a £100,000-a-week contract by saying “if you don’t pay, they go”.

The Red Devils have tied the England international to a new four-year deal at Old Trafford.

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Questions have been asked of the terms put to the 24-year-old, with Lingard yet to make 100 appearances for the club after finally breaking through under Louis van Gaal last season.

Mourinho, though, believes that the agreement is merely a reflection of how football works in the modern era.

Jose Mourinho Manchester United 2017

He said: “First of all, if you don’t pay, they go.

“So we can be criticised for paying so much, but we’d also be criticised if we lost a young English player made in the academy.

“I know what people mean.

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“One of Manchester United’s great players told me the other day he was rich at the end of his career - now these kids are rich when they start their career.”

Lingard’s new deal includes the option for a further 12-month extension.

Mourinho is hoping to see the midfielder kick on over the coming years, with his value having already been highlighted with a number of important goals – including Wembley efforts in the 2016 FA Cup final, the Community Shield and EFL Cup final.

Jesse Lingard Manchester United

He added: "I think he is a good player already.

"And because of his age and because of his happiness in the work, I think he has conditions to be even better.

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"Apart from that, English, made in the academy - very important for the club these players made at home - so it is a very important contract.”

Lingard has netted five times in 29 appearances this season, while taking his tally of senior England caps to four.

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