Back in the first-team fold and smiling again, Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw said he is ready to end the season with a bang.
Subjected to public criticism by United manager Jose Mourinho, doubts emerged over Shaw’s future at Old Trafford but he impressed in the 3-0 Premier League win at Sunderland last week.
Building on his return in the 1-1 draw against Everton, Shaw played an hour at the Stadium of Light and earned praise from Mourinho.
Now the England international wants more game time with United fighting to finish in the top four and secure Champions League football.
“I’ve got a massive smile on my face,” Shaw said. “It was great to have got 60 minutes under my belt away at Sunderland.
“All-in-all I feel really good, really fit and really confident. I just want to keep playing now. I just want to work hard in training and keep playing games.
“I took what the manager said on board and I will work hard until the end.
“I want to be at this place and hopefully I can carry on giving great performances for the club until the end of the season.”
With United fifth in the Premier League, four points adrift of Manchester City, the Europa League is looming as the club’s best chance to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
United face Anderlecht in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie on Thursday and Shaw is determined to impress Mourinho as the 21-year-old tries to feature all the way to the final in Stockholm.
“Every single game is massive now, but I think the one on Thursday is huge. We have to treat every game in that competition now like it’s a final. We want to win that tournament,” Shaw added.
“We fight for whatever we have got left, we have to have that mentality where every game is a cup final and not worry about which competition it is in. But the Europa League is a massive thing for us now, it’s a trophy and it gives us qualification for the Champions League. We have to look at that as the priority now. We’ve got to fight for that.
“Anderlecht will be tough, every team left in this stage of the competition will have quality. We’ve got to focus all week on what their strengths and weaknesses are, but most of all we need to focus on ourselves, what we do and how we play. With the players we have got, we can be unstoppable.
“It is a really big opportunity for us to get to the final. I’d love to play in the games coming up and especially with the Europa League to help the team push towards the final.
“Everyone is fighting for a place in that squad now. Everyone is training hard and I am trying to impress the manager because the games at the end are the big games. The final, the quarters-finals, the semis are the games you want to be playing in.”
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