Shaw reveals final ambition
Manchester United defender Luke Shaw is looking forward to facing Roma in the Europa League semi-final and has emphasised his desire to win the competition.
Our no. 23 is eager to put on a show under the floodlights at the Theatre of Dreams, especially after he missed out on last year’s semi-finals in both the Emirates FA Cup and Europa League due to injury and the 2017 victory over Ajax in the competition.
"Personally, for me it’s a massive motivation," he told reporters about playing in big games.
"As you said then, I’ve been quite unfortunate to not be involved in semis and finals, so of course I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night to step out in one. But, of course, from a team point of view, it’s very important. In the past, we’ve missed out on a few finals and I think this season, the way we’ve been playing, the way the confidence is high, we’ve got real belief that we can reach it.
"Like I said, it’s a massive motivation for not just me, but for the whole team to reach the final. It’s a game we’re looking forward to tomorrow and one we’re very ready for."
During Ole’s reign as Reds boss, we have made it to five semi-finals but not yet progressed to the final of a cup competition. During the press conference, Luke was asked why he thinks that has been the case.
"I think, first and foremost, no semi-final is easy, they’re always tough games," he reiterated.
"We’ve just missed out on a few, like you said. We’ve had a lot of disappointment from that, so I think we can use that as motivation for this one, the way we felt after them. Like I say, we were very disappointed, we can just reflect on that and put things right tomorrow and start with that.
"It’s obviously two legs so you know it will only be half-time after tomorrow, but the first leg will always be a very important one and we’ve had a few days to prepare for this and we’re ready for this because we want to win this trophy."
In 2017, when we beat Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm, Luke had to watch from the stands and pose for photos with the trophy on crutches. This time, our attacking full-back has his sights set on a starting place should the Reds make it to the big stage in Gdansk in May.
"Of course, I was extremely happy for the players, but I think everyone would agree with me, when you’re not involved and you’re not playing and you haven’t got that kit on, it’s not the same," the England international said about the final in the Swedish capital four years ago.
"Of course, like I said, on the other hand, I was very happy for the club to win that trophy and for my team-mates. Of course, I want to be playing, luckily tomorrow I am, so I’m looking forward to it."
The 25-year-old is in his seventh season at Old Trafford after his move from Southampton back in 2014. In 2021, no Premier League player has created as many chances as Luke and our defender was asked to share his thoughts on why things are going so well for him this season.
"I think a lot of things. I think one of them is the manager sat next to me, I’m not just saying that because he’s sat here! But of course, he’s one of them," he admitted about Ole's impact before further explaining his improvement.
"I think, of course, myself as well. I’ve changed a lot of things; I’ve added more belief in myself and I feel a lot more confident. The most important thing is I’m just enjoying playing football again and I think that’s a very important thing to have in our job. You need to be enjoying it and I’m doing that.
"The team are going in the right direction and I want to be a part of it so I need to keep my high performance up and just keep myself in the team because there’s competition all over the squad. I want to keep improving, keep getting better and keep helping the team to push and, hopefully, win trophies."
The first leg of the Europa League semi-final against Roma kicks off at 20:00 BST on Thursday.