Solskjaer responsible for most of Man Utd's improvements, insists Shaw

By Sports Desk May 06, 2020

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been key to most of the improvements that have been made at Manchester United since Jose Mourinho left, according to Luke Shaw.

Solskjaer was brought in as Mourinho's replacement on a temporary basis in December 2018, but after inspiring a significant upturn in form, he was given a full-time contract in March.

Performances and results dipped dramatically from then until the end of last season and issues seemed to remain at the start of 2019-20, but United had hit their best run of form since Solskjaer's appointment before the coronavirus pandemic led to a suspension in March.

United were unbeaten in 11 matches across all competitions, a run that included two wins over Manchester City, a 2-0 defeat of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and back-to-back 5-0 triumphs in the Europa League against Club Brugge and LASK.

Shaw – who has been at Old Trafford since 2014 – highlighted the unity that has developed in the squad, suggesting it has been even more evident during the lockdown.

"It's great to see everyone helping each other out," he said in a diary entry on United's official website. "Carras [Michael Carrick, first-team coach] was on the group call the other day, praising us for looking after ourselves because everybody looks the same [in terms of physical assessments] as before lockdown, so he's happy.

"Everyone's working hard, we're pushing each other with our runs and helping each other out. Hopefully everyone can be back working together at the training ground soon.

"There really is a great feel about this group of lads now, and that has been the case for a while. I've seen a lot of changes during my time at United and I have to say that Ole has been responsible for a large amount of the improvements around the place.

"When he came in, he knew what was needed, what had to change to get things up and running again. He's signed people who aren't just good players, but also really good lads as well. They've integrated in the squad really well and brought a bit more energy and togetherness in the group."

Harry Maguire has been credited with having a particularly impressive impact off the pitch, with the pre-season signing from Leicester City already becoming club captain following Ashley Young's move to Inter in January.

Shaw feels Maguire's efforts have been focused on creating a better mentality in the group, with players agreeing to a code of conduct that sees them accept a fine if they miss bonding activities.

"He [Maguire] is really trying to make sure we get more things done together as a group going forward," Shaw continued. "Young was brilliant, really tried his hardest, but sometimes it was difficult to get things done as a group.

"Now we've made a pact that whenever a team bonding thing happens, we all have to do it or we get fined. It's great for the team to be together and do things together.

"In some groups, sometimes, there are people who just don't get on, which is natural when you've got big groups, but I honestly believe that in our squad everyone gets on really well.

"We all love each other, we all want to push each other to be the best and, of course, to get United as a club back to where it needs to be."

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