Fit-again Shaw admits he must do more to earn trust
Luke Shaw has admitted he needs to earn Jose Mourinho's trust after struggling to convince the Portuguese of his first-team credentials since his appointment as Manchester United manager this summer.
Shaw, 21, played the full 90 minutes as United overcame Manchester City in the EFL Cup fourth round on Wednesday evening, but the England defender was forced to sit on the sidelines as an unused squad member during the 4-0 Premier League defeat at Chelsea at the weekend.
Having arrived at Old Trafford in a £28m move from Southampton as a 19-year-old following the 2014 World Cup, Shaw (below) has endured a turbulent two years at United, with Louis van Gaal criticising his form and fitness during his first season before then suffering a season-ending broken leg while playing against PSV Eindhoven last September.
Mourinho's arrival has coincided with another downturn in Shaw's fortunes, with the former Chelsea manager recently preferring Daley Blind at left-back having claimed two years ago that he aborted Chelsea's interest in Shaw due to his wage demands.
"If we pay to a 19-year-old boy what we were being asked for, to sign Luke Shaw, we are dead," Mourinho said at the time. "We would have killed our stability with financial fair play and killed the stability in our dressing room.
"Because when you pay that much to a 19-year-old kid - a good player, fantastic player - but when you pay that amount of money, the next day, we would have had players knocking on our door."
Two years on, Shaw is still searching for the consistency with which to prove Mourinho wrong, but he admits that the 90 minutes against City offers him a platform on which to build upon.
"It's normal that you're frustrated on Sunday because I would have loved to play in that game (against Chelsea), but it obviously wasn't meant to be," Shaw said. "At the end of the day, it is the manager's decision.
"Obviously with the injury with Eric (Bailly) now, it might be my time to step up and show the manager what I can do and that he can trust me. The first half against City wasn't the best of mine. I thought I did ok, but I was maybe getting too tight on Jesus Navas for some of the crosses.
"But I came out in the second half and I felt much better. I was closing him sharply, we made sure he got no crosses in and I think at the end of the day, I feel really good. Hopefully I will play on Saturday against Burnley and get another 90 minutes and a good result with that."
The knee ligament injury suffered by Bailly, which is expected to keep the summer signing from Villarreal on the sidelines for at least two months, is likely to see Mourinho move Blind back to centre-half, with only Marcos Rojo remaining to challenge Shaw for the left-back position. But despite the opening which it now provides for Shaw to regain his place in the team, the full-back admits that Bailly's loss will be keenly felt.
"Massively," Shaw said. "He has played in all of the games and has been one of our best players each game. I don't think he's had an off day, but he's still so young and, you know, the confidence and calmness he brings to our defence when he gets the ball, sometimes he knows when to clear it but he likes to play from the back.
"That's what was good for us because we like to start from the back and go through the midfield and attack. So of course, he's going to be a very big loss, but I think people staked their claim against City, and obviously with Chris Smalling as well."
United face Burnley at Old Trafford tomorrow needing to reduce a five-point gap between themselves and fourth-placed Chelsea following a run of three league games without a victory.
Mourinho has already insisted that United must now target maximum points in the coming weeks after emerging from a period that has seen them play City, Chelsea, Liverpool and reigning champions Leicester City.
But despite the seemingly less difficult fixtures which now lie ahead, Shaw claims that United cannot be complacent.
"Nothing is easy and no fixtures in the Premier League are easy," he said. "We've seen that time and time again.
"People might think that's an easy game and end up losing them. I am not going to say that: every game is a tough game and I think it's time to start focusing on every game like a final and playing like a final as well.
"The draw at Liverpool was at the end of a very good run of results. They'd been running over teams at their ground and the point was good. But after, the bad result on Sunday, it was massively important to get the win against City.
"We've got Burnley at home which is a must-win and we go to Swansea, which we know will be a tough game. But we need to get maximum points because it's our time to start pushing up the table." (© Independent News Service)