We've let Ole down: Shaw

Defender aware of fall in standards at United, accepts criticism from being at 'biggest club'

Manchester United's Luke Shaw during their 2-1 upset win on Dec 7 at the Etihad Stadium in the Manchester derby, a rare high point for the club this season. PHOTO: REUTERS
Manchester United's Luke Shaw during their 2-1 upset win on Dec 7 at the Etihad Stadium in the Manchester derby, a rare high point for the club this season.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Manchester United defender Luke Shaw believes his team have been unfairly criticised while Arsenal have not had to deal with the same level of scrutiny.

Both English giants have struggled in recent seasons and are languishing behind their rivals in the chase for a top-four finish.

United travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea today having won just one of their last five Premier League games. They sit ninth in the table - six points behind the fourth-placed Blues (41). Arsenal headed into yesterday's clash against Newcastle in 11th place after drawing their last four games.

"You need to have a thick skin to play football... but especially at the biggest club in the world here at United. Everyone's watching and wants to have a go whenever you lose," Shaw told The Mirror. "No disrespect to Arsenal who are a fantastic club, but they're not exactly having the greatest of seasons and it's hardly mentioned."

The 24-year-old has also been publicly criticised by his managers over fitness issues in the past, most notably former United bosses Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.

Shaw is thankful that current coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has attempted to shield his players from the media spotlight, but admits they have let the Norwegian down.

"We're all aware how the manager has tried to take the criticism on himself this season," the fullback added. "Ole is different to managers I've played for in the past at United who have not been slow in criticising us... It is disappointing there have been times this season when we've let him down, ourselves and the United fans.

"The good thing is we've still got a lot to play for, with top four and two Cup competitions, so there is time to put it right. Playing Chelsea is a good place to start."

The Red Devils are in the fifth round of the FA Cup and last 32 of the Europa League.


They defeated Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge en route to the League Cup semi-finals, and defeated the Blues 4-0 in their opening game of the season. Solskjaer feels those results show that his men can win today.

"We've played them twice already this season and done well, but Chelsea are a good team," he told United's website. "They are at home, but we're going to go there to try to win the game."

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante insisted that the Blues do not have revenge on their minds today.

"Man United were a bit behind but now they have closed the gap so it's a big opportunity either for us to keep them behind or for them to close the gap more," he said.

"It's an important game for both teams. We all know that Man United at home is a very difficult game, especially after what happened in the first game but we don't look at this. We just look forward because we want to keep the gap and so that's why we need to win, not to get revenge."



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2020, with the headline 'We've let Ole down: Shaw'. Subscribe