Shaw: We're moving in the right direction
Luke Shaw is convinced Manchester United will continue to improve under Erik ten Hag, after being impressed with the way the new boss is getting his instructions across.
While the left-back admits the side needs to get more points on the board, he has been encouraged by the performance level and is optimistic for this final stretch of games before the break for this winter's World Cup finals in Qatar.
During an exclusive interview for United Review, the official matchday programme for Thursday's Europa League tie with Sheriff Tiraspol, the England international discussed the manager, the competition provided by Tyrell Malacia for his place and facing Antony in training, among a host of other topics.
When asked about Ten Hag's impact, Shaw said: "He speaks to the players individually quite a lot and I think, from the start of pre-season, I could see what sort of manager he was going to be and I was extremely impressed with the way he came across, not just in terms of how he speaks to you, but his ideas of how he wants his team to set up.
"His structure and the way he wants to play with the ball and without the ball – it was really impressive. Things obviously take time, but I think we’re going in the right direction and I think it could be a really good next few months because I feel like we’re taking the right steps.
"I think there has been a massive improvement. The start of the season was obviously nowhere near good enough, we all knew that, but I think, since then, we’ve taken a lot of big strides [forward] and good strides, but I think there is still a lot more to come.
"We know we can do better – for example against Newcastle at home [earlier this month], we have to be winning those games and taking three points instead of one. But there has definitely been improvements and there is still a lot more to come."
Shaw has faced a battle with Malacia for the left-back slot, following the Netherlands international's arrival from Feyenoord this summer. As he has often pointed out, the competition for places is something he has always thrived on.
"It's about keeping fit and keeping that high level consistently," he added. "Tyrell has obviously been playing as well and playing really well, and I think that's really good, for the manager to have competition in different positions, and both of us performing at a good level.
"I really like Ty; I sit next to him in the changing room and he's a really nice guy and an extremely good player. He’s still very young and we get on really well and, for both of us, it’s nice to get on well with someone who is in your position. That really helps because, when he plays, I want him to do the best for the team and I know he has the same feeling for me."
Both full-backs must deal with marking Antony in training and nullifying the trickery of the Brazil international. Certainly, Shaw believes the winger is showing the Premier League what he is capable of and impressing the supporters with his skills and industry.
"We have good battles in training," smiled Luke. "And it's really good to be able to train against someone like him with such high quality. Game by game, he’s getting better and better and, in the game against Newcastle, he was Man of the Match for me.
"He looks really confident, he’s running past players and coming inside and creating chances and scoring goals. He’s in a really good moment and we know there is still more to come, but he’s taking the right steps and that’s really good for the team."