Luke Shaw claims he has seen a “massive change” in himself and believes he has started “fully turning the corner” at Manchester United after accepting he was not working hard enough in the wake of candid clear-the-air talks with Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho questioned Shaw’s commitment, ambition and focus a fortnight ago when explaining why the United defender continued to be omitted from his squad.
It prompted Shaw to request a meeting with Mourinho, after which the left-back earned a dramatic recall to the squad for the 1-1 draw against Everton at Old Trafford 10 days ago, when he won the late penalty from which Zlatan Ibrahimovic rescued a point.
Although Mourinho offered another blunt appraisal of Shaw after the Everton match when he claimed the player lacked football intelligence, the England international was given only his second Premier League start since late October in the 3-0 victory at Sunderland five days later.
Mourinho put his arm around Shaw and praised his performance when the player was substituted against Sunderland and the 21-year-old is confident his flagging United career has been given a new lease of life, although it remains to be seen if the manager keeps faith with him over the summer.
“It’s the start I think of fully turning the corner, but it was obviously great,” Shaw said of Mourinho’s reaction when he was taken off against Sunderland. “It was sort of what I needed after a tough couple of weeks of things that he had said, but I took it really well.
“I took it positively and when I came off the pitch and he said ‘good performance’ it made me feel better as a person, made me sort of more confident than I already was.
“It was very important for me to get those minutes. I think they were a good 60 minutes. I was disappointed, I wanted to play the 90 minutes like always, but he was very positive with me and it lovely to see.
“I had a really, really good chat with him after those words came out and I totally agree with him. I will do whatever he wants. I have always been a hard worker but I think maybe if I look back I wasn’t doing as hard as he likes.”
Shaw believes he has noticed a marked difference in himself since his frank meeting with Mourinho.
“We had a really good talk and he discussed what he wanted from me and I think even in a week and a half I have seen a massive change in myself, not just on the pitch and the training ground but off it as well,” Shaw told Sky Sports ahead of the visit of Chelsea to Old Trafford on Sunday.
“Now it is my time to fight until the end of the season and show the boss what I can do and what I can bring to help his team. I remember having the meeting with him and I said to him at the end, ‘I am going to prove you wrong’ because I believe and I want to do that, not just for myself but the fans that have been behind me and sent me really nice messages and want to support me through this time.
“I think now I can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel and I want to push for the best from me. I wish the season wasn’t coming to an end. I wish it was the start because I just want to play games and games now.”
Shaw believes he has not always handled the criticism and being left out overly well, particularly at the start of his United career under Louis van Gaal following his £28 million move from Southampton.
“It is very hard but I think his time around – I’ve sort of had it before – I’ve dealt with it much better,” he said. “I think off the pitch sometimes it’s hard. When I first came to United, there was a lot of discussion about me then and that was hard because it was something new for me.
“I was always used to positive feedback or positive stuff about me in the media, and obviously I came here and everything changed. It was a negative. I think I took that badly and it sort of knocked me down a bit, but this time I’ve come back wanting to fight and I want to prove everyone wrong.”