The full-back admits the Red Devils have failed to live up to expectation but feels they get more than their fair share of criticism
Manchester United full-back Luke Shaw believes his side are unfairly targeted by critics, saying Arsenal do not face the same scrutiny despite their struggles.
Both teams have underwhelmed in recent seasons and are falling further behind their rivals for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
United, winless in their last three league matches, are ninth in the table and six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, while 11th-placed Arsenal head into Sunday’s clash against Newcastle having drawn their last four games.
The Red Devils have faced heavy criticism throughout their decline from Premier League winners in 2013 to their current state, but Shaw feels the attacks can be excessive.
“I’ve had to have a thick skin. Sometimes it’s easy for people to forget what I’ve actually been through,” he told The Mirror.
“You need to have a thick skin to play football anywhere, but especially at the biggest club in the world here at United. Everyone’s watching and wants to have a go whenever you lose.
“They’re just waiting to criticise the moment anything goes wrong but that’s part and parcel of playing for United.
“No disrespect to Arsenal who are a fantastic club, but they’re not exactly having the greatest of seasons and it’s hardly mentioned.
“I find it quite funny that if it’s United, everyone criticises, but Arsenal don’t get a mention.
“Look, we know when we haven’t been good enough and at times we haven’t been. We all know why we’re here.
“We’re here to take this club back to where it belongs – winning trophies and challenging for titles. And I honestly believe we’re on the way towards doing so.
“We know when we’re not at our best and we know when we play well what we can achieve – but we have to sustain it that’s why I believe there are a lot of good days to come.”
The 24-year-old praised coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for absorbing much of the vitriol, but feels the players have let the Norwegian down on the field.
“We’re all aware how the manager has tried to take the criticism on himself this season,” Shaw added. “We admire him for that, but there does come a time as a player when you have to look at yourself and realise that it’s all on you.
“The manager can’t keep defending us and taking the criticism. It’s up to us now – we’re the ones who need to shoulder the blame and start performing on the pitch.
“Ole is different to managers I’ve played for in the past at United who have not been slow in criticising us.
“Every manager has their own way of doing things and as a professional you just have to accept that they believe that the best way to be successful is their way.
“In the dressing room he always lets us know if we aren’t doing the thing he expects from us. But there isn’t a lot he can do once we go out onto the pitch. Then it is down to us.
“Ole can only do so much to prepare us but once the whistle goes then it’s up to us to prove we deserve to be Manchester United players.
“We’re all here because the manager believes in us and it is disappointing there have been times this season when we’ve let down him, ourselves and the United fans. We know we’re much better than our results suggest.
“The good thing is we’ve still got a lot to play for, with top four and two cup competitions, so there is time to put it right. Playing Chelsea is a good place to start.”