Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has said he has taken criticism from manager Jose Mourinho like “a grown man” — but he hates missing games and wants to fight his way back into the side.
Mourinho, who criticised Shaw’s display after the 3-1 defeat at Watford on Sept. 18, confirmed the left-back will play for United against Fenerbahce in the Europa League at Old Trafford on Thursday night.
The 21-year-old England international made his first appearance since that Watford game when he came on as a late substitute in the 0-0 draw against Liverpool at Anfield on Monday, having been troubled by a groin problem beforehand.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Shaw said: “I have said before, I’m a grown man and take what the manager said. I’m still young and need to take on board what he says and improve. I was disappointed with the result but not what the manager said.
“It’s been good to rest the groin but I want to play every game and hate missing matches. I’m back now and ready to fight for my place.”
Shaw admitted a need to be wary of his attacking instincts, saying: “Our main priority is to defend. Like against Watford, I can push forward and we get exposed on the counter attack. I love to attack but our job is to prevent goals, the attackers have to score them.”
He added there are still leaders in the United squad, saying that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is “good for squad morale” and Paul Pogba remains “one of the best midfielders in world” who is “getting stronger.”
Looking ahead to facing Fenerbahce, he acknowledged the threat of former United striker Robin van Persie but added that the team needs to focus on the Turkish side as a whole rather than just one player.
“He definitely is a threat and we know his qualities,” Shaw said. “I saw what he could do in training and games here. We’re wary of him but we’re focused on their whole team.”