Shaw: Clean sheet is a clear positive
Luke Shaw was frustrated Manchester United didn’t manage to find a winner during their goalless draw with Chelsea on Saturday, but says a good defensive performance gives the Reds something to build on.
United suffered a demoralising 6-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in their last game at Old Trafford, and were yet to record a clean sheet in the league prior to the arrival of Frank Lampard’s men.
But a solid showing from the back four – which comprised Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Man of the Match winner Victor Lindelof – was pleasing, ahead of stiff tests to come against RB Leipzig and Arsenal later this week.
“We defended much better than we have been, especially against a very good team like Chelsea who have high-quality players all around the pitch,” reflected Luke.
“I feel like they didn’t really create much, and we did well in that aspect. But higher up the pitch we should have maybe grabbed a goal, or maybe even two, and taken the three points.”
The 25-year-old feels the men at the back have rediscovered some of the form they showed in the second half of last season, after some uncharacteristic performances during this campaign’s opening weeks.
“When we’re on the pitch now, it feels different to what it was before [at the start of 2020/21]. Before, we made a lot of sloppy, silly mistakes – individual mistakes – and I think we’ve learned from that and we’ve worked hard in training.“We knew we needed to improve, and I think we need to build on this today and take it to Wednesday.”
United created the better chances against Chelsea, but were frustrated by several good saves from the Blues’ new no.1 Edouard Mendy – including a memorable effort to deny Marcus Rashford as the game approached its conclusion.
“I feel like we created the better chances. Their keeper made wonderful saves at times,” said Shaw. “I was right behind it [Rashford’s shot] and, like I said, their keeper was very good today. He made a couple of very good saves that kept them in the game.”
The Reds had 14 shots on goal to Chelsea’s six, and Shaw felt the Londoners’ formational switch to an unfamiliar back five revealed their contentment with a point.
“Yeah, they were saying up there [on the TV] that neither team wanted to lose,” noted the left-back.
“You could see that with maybe the way they turned up with that formation – they haven’t played it [a back five] this season, so it was the first time. So I think maybe we felt that from them, but we always want to win every game. Of course it was important we didn’t lose today, and we’ll take one point rather than zero, but also we’re disappointed in the back of our minds that we didn’t take three.”
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United are now unbeaten in three games, and with Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani both recently making their debuts, and Mason Greenwood and Harry Maguire returning to full fitness, Shaw feels the team are well placed to continue a promising run of form.
“It’s very good for the manager to maybe have those changes that he can make, but also very good for the team, because everyone wants to play,” admitted Luke. “Everyone’s pushing. The ones on the bench want to be in the starting XI, so it’s good to have that healthy competition that is going to push the lads.
“We need to keep pushing. Of course we’re a bit disappointed we haven’t got three points but we need to just get our focus back, [because] we have a massive game on Wednesday that we need to win.”