CARDIFF – Luke Shaw called on Manchester United to seize the moment after a 5-1 win at Cardiff revived their ailing campaign.
The Premier League title may be out of reach before the halfway stage, but United’s players insist they can transform their season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who took over as caretaker after Jose Mourinho was sacked.
“We’re still in two cup competitions and we want the top four,” said Shaw. “We want to be playing in the Champions League next season. I don’t see why we can’t do that if we keep playing like this.
“There’s a long way to go. We’re not focused on the other teams. At the moment, it’s about us.
“We can’t be dropping points, so we need to fight for three points every time we play.”
The immediate fixture list offers encouragement and is perhaps one of the reasons behind the timing of United’s managerial change.
Four of their next six league fixtures are at Old Trafford, with Huddersfield on Boxing Day followed by Bournemouth, Brighton and Burnley.
That offers an ideal opportunity to build on the positive energy injected at Cardiff and close the eight-point gap to Chelsea and Arsenal, who are in fourth and fifth respectively.
There are trips to Newcastle and Tottenham and an FA Cup tie against Reading before the end of January.
“The next four or five games are very winnable games for us,” said Shaw.
“If we carry on playing like this, we can pick up as many points as possible. We moved the ball quicker. The goals we scored were just magnificent. Rash’s free kick helped settle the nerves.
“They scored, but we didn’t change anything. We carried on, and the third was an amazing team goal.”
It was the first time United had scored five goals since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge, a 5-5 draw at West Bromwich Albion in 2013.
“Under any circumstances, that’s how Man United are expected to play,” said Shaw. “It’s sort of a fresh start, and we need to look forward.”
But Shaw also looked back on Mourinho’s achievements at the club.
“People might be quick to forget what Jose did for United, with the three trophies,” said Shaw, referring to the Community Shield won in 2016, and the League Cup and Europa League won in 2017.
“We as players and as a team all need to show respect. He did a lot, not only for us as a team to win those trophies, but for the fans as well.”