Odion Ighalo said he’s been made to feel like family since joining Manchester United and has thanked “brothers” Juan Mata, David de Gea and Sergio Romero for helping him settle in at the club.
The 30-year-old striker completed a loan move from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua to Old Trafford in the January transfer window, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer desperate for attacking reinforcements following Marcus Rashford’s back injury.
Eyebrows were raised at the deal considering the standard of the Chinese Super League but Ighalo has hit the ground running on his return to the Premier League, scoring four goals in his opening eight appearances for the Red Devils.
Ighalo, a lifelong United fan, took little convincing to join once Solskjaer’s interest became known and the forward has revealed that the move was made even easier thanks to three Spanish-speaking members of the squad.
“I have a lot of guys there who have helped me. The guys in the dressing room are very good guys,” the Nigeria international said during an Instagram Q&A session.
“The first time I stepped my feet in that dressing room – wow. There are two or three players that took me and made me feel welcome and comfortable.
“After two or three days we started living like brothers, like I’ve been there for five years, laughing together and cracking jokes together. ‘Especially Juan Mata, De Gea and the other goalkeeper Romero, because they speak Spanish and I speak Spanish.”
Ighalo has been happy to prove his initial doubters wrong after a barnstorming start to life in the north west.
“Firstly it was, ‘Why are you going to England?’, with your age and all and that it is one of the biggest teams in the world,” the ex-Watford attacker added.
“Number two, nobody gave me a chance but I know I’m a hard worker.
“I don’t get carried away, I don’t listen. I do my work and just remain focused. When I came to Manchester United I pictured what I wanted to attain but I did not say a word, I did not go solo.
“People on social media can always talk but you do not need to speak to people that you do not know. You must focus and do your job. The same people that criticise you will praise you when you do well and when they praise you, you can’t get carried away.
“I am telling you, If I miss one chance now they will insult me, you understand? [Now] It’s, ‘Ighalo you are the best’, but okay, one chance I miss and they will insult me so do not get carried away with hype, praise or criticism because those things are bound to happen.”