Shaw: New signings can lift the morale
Luke Shaw is still hurting from Manchester United's 6-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in our last Premier League fixture.
Having the whole international break to stew on the heavy loss for the 10-man Reds was never going to be easy for anybody associated with the club but he feels the time for inquest is over as the trip to Newcastle United looms on the horizon.
As honest as ever in his appraisal of what went wrong at the start of our campaign, the left-back accepts mistakes were made but acknowledges there is the chance to put things right, starting on Saturday night. And an injection of fresh blood into the squad has already helped to lift the spirits within the camp.
“I think it’s been a week where the first day back was quiet and heads were down but we’ve realised we need to put it behind us and forget about that. All we can do now is work hard to get back to the intensity we have had. When we do that, we are a very dangerous team.
“We’ve got a few new arrivals in and that can maybe boost the morale of the squad and bring something different. Fresh faces are sometimes a good thing. Like we saw with Bruno [Fernandes], it can change completely the mood of a squad.”
One of the three new arrivals at the club, Alex Telles, plays in Luke's regular position but the 25-year-old has welcomed the additions (Facundo Pellistri and Edinson Cavani are the others) as they will lift standards throughout the squad.
"Competition for any team is a must," he told us. "There is competition for every single spot and you’ve got to be ready for it, work hard and give the manager a decision harder than what he’s had to make before. Like I said, competition is very healthy for the squad, it’ll push everyone even more because everyone wants to play.
“It [Saturday's match] is one we all want to play in. We all hoped it would be a bit earlier, to be honest, as the last game wasn’t good. We’ve had a lot of time to think and work and be ready for this. We need to win it. It’s a must-win game and we want to put things right. We’ve got very important games coming up. Everyone is looking forward to working hard so we’re going to be ready for it.”
The defender believes it is imperative the Reds tighten up at the back, with everybody needing to play their part and not just those in defence. We have conceded 11 goals in our three Premier League games in 2020/21 and this will be an area for improvement, beginning at St James' Park - a venue where we were beaten 1-0 in last season's fixture on Tyneside.
It is clear Shaw knows how the problems can be resolved as plenty of graft, analysis and discussion must have taken place at the Aon Training Complex since the Spurs setback.
"We know it’s time to work hard and even work harder than ever," he accepted. "We know the results haven’t been great recently and we need to get back to what we used to be. We’re working very hard to bring back that intensity we had, as we very much need to push on after this international break.
“We need to control the game," he said of the weekend clash with Steve Bruce's Magpies. “We need to create chances. We need to be clinical and, especially at the back, we need to be more solid.
“Not just as a backline but throughout the whole team, a bit more defensively solid and a bit more compact. I think you’ve probably seen in the last few games, we were easy to play through. Look, we can count it as down to mistakes and people can put their hands up. Maybe I’ve made a couple of mistakes and so have others in the games.
“We’ll put our hands up and move on from that but I think everyone needs to give a little bit extra, including myself. We want to and need to. This club deserves that.”
Saturday night, 20:00 BST, cannot come quickly enough for the fans as the Reds look to follow Shaw's words and get back to winning ways.