Belfast Telegraph

Top-four finish should be Shaw thing for Manchester United, insists defender

The Red Devils are eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.

Luke Shaw believes Manchester United can still finish in the top four in the Premier League this season (Richard Sellers/PA)
Luke Shaw believes Manchester United can still finish in the top four in the Premier League this season (Richard Sellers/PA)

Luke Shaw insists Manchester United can achieve a top-four Premier League finish following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s arrival at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer started his reign as caretaker boss on Saturday with a 5-1 win at Cardiff, with United scoring five goals in the Premier League for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in May 2013.

United are currently eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, but have a kind set of festive fixtures against Huddersfield, Bournemouth and Newcastle.

“Of course we want the top four, we want to be playing in the Champions League next season,” Shaw said after being recalled to the United starting line-up.

“Seeing the way we played, I don’t see why we can’t if we keep playing like that.

“There’s a very long way to go and we need to focus on how to catch up.

“We’re not too focused on the other teams’ scorelines at the moment.

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Paul Pogba and Ashley Young celebrate Manchester United’s fifth goal in their 5-1 win at Cardiff (Nick Potts/PA)

“The main focus is us and the next four or five games are very winnable.

“But we can’t really be dropping points now with the situation we’re in.

“We need to focus on each game when it comes around and fight for every three points.”

Solskjaer’s side resembled the cavalier United teams of yesteryear as full-backs raided high and wide and midfielders flooded into the penalty area to support the strikers.

After the caution of his predecessor Jose Mourinho, Solskjaer let the players off the leash and invited them to play with freedom and expression.

That switch in style was illustrated by a brilliant third goal, Anthony Martial stroking home after some wonderful one-touch passing between the Frenchman, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard.

“Under any manager, or any circumstances, that’s how Man United are expected to play,” Shaw said.

“At times, it didn’t happen but we moved the ball quicker here.

Under any manager, or any circumstances, that's how Man United are expected to play Luke Shaw

“We were very quick at getting the ball forward and we were more clinical.

“I think in games before we have had a lot of chances that maybe could have ended up in the back of the net, but we didn’t take our chances.

“It was nice to get the five goals because we haven’t done that for a while and we push on from there.”

Shaw was among several United players to have fallen out with Mourinho during the Portuguese’s colourful two-and-a-half-year tenure at Old Trafford.

But the England full-back insisted Mourinho should be respected for the job he did at the club.

“It’s not very nice when something as big as that happens at the club, but I think we all, as players and as a team, show respect in what happened,” Shaw said.

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Time was up on Jose Mourinho’s reign at Manchester United after two and a half years (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“People might be quick to forget what Jose did for United – the three trophies he won – he did a lot.

“One of the trophies (Europa League) was one we had not won before, and he took us to three trophies in one season.

“So those people need to respect him and remember what he did, not only us as a team to win those trophies but the fans as well.”

PA

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