The English defender says the Red Devils improved run of results in recent weeks is down to the environment the head coach has created
Luke Shaw has praised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for his “brilliant” work since being installed as Manchester United‘s permanent boss, insisting the whole squad is pulling in the same direction under his leadership.
Solskjaer was brought in to replace Jose Mourinho on an interim basis at Old Trafford back in December 2018, and went on to earn a three-year contract after overseeing a swift revival in fortunes on the pitch.
Results took a turn for the worst after he was permanently handed the managerial reins, however, and United ended up finishing the 2018-19 campaign down in sixth in the Premier League, without a single piece of silverware to show for their efforts.
The Red Devils’ struggles continued in the first half of the new season, with consistency proving elusive for Solskjaer’s men, but the team has seemingly turned a corner since returning to action following the winter break.
January signing Bruno Fernandes appears to have injected fresh purpose into the United starting XI and in turn, the players around him have raised their game, culminating in impressive back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Watford.
Shaw is one of the stars who appears to have rediscovered his best form, and he has credited Solskjaer for lifting the mood in the dressing room over the last year.
“He has been unbelievable and has put a smile on our faces,” the England defender told a press conference.
“He has been brilliant and the lads are really enjoying it, moreso now that we are getting better results.
“We have got an important second half of the season, Ole has been great and we enjoy working under him.”
Shaw added on how he has been able to silence his critics and improve his all-around game: “I think I’m still quite young and I’ve got a lot to improve on. I want to improve as a player day in day out and keep working hard.
“I don’t need to pay too much attention to what people say in the media, it’s sometimes good and sometimes bad. So I’ve got to focus on myself and the people that matter.
“I’m feeling really good and can’t wait to get back out on the pitch. I’ve had a lot of stick and if you come to Manchester United you need to take that – people are always ready to criticise you.
“There are only high standards here, so we need to be strong, but we need to be on that pitch when it matters and give it everything we’ve got.
“It is completely different to other clubs and when you sign that piece of paper you know how different it is going to be. You have to be able to deal with it. If you are not strong mentally and confident you will struggle to deal with it. You have got to focus on tomorrow right now and do our best.”
United are currently preparing for a Europa League last 32 second-leg clash with Club Brugge at Old Trafford, with Shaw eager to add another winners’ medal to his collection after sitting out the 2017 final.
“It is a massive ambition for me. I was there for the Europa League final, and the feeling, even though I wasn’t on the pitch was a feeling I have not felt and I wanted more of,” said Shaw. “I wasn’t involved and that is what is pushing me on, even more, to get into this final, and others.
“We should be in finals and we should be in all competitions until the end. We are very confident at the moment.”
Shaw concluded by insisting United can also still win the FA Cup and finish in the top four come May, stating: “We are still in two cup competitions and the league is still a very high priority. We have got a good chance to get in the top-four and we have a very good chance in both cup competitions. We want to win all of them.”