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26th Nov 2018

Luke Shaw says it takes a ‘thick skin’ to play under José Mourinho

Luke Shaw knows better than anyone that playing under Jose Mourinho requires mental toughness, after the manager publicly criticised him several times

Reuben Pinder

He would know better than anyone

Luke Shaw has not had an easy ride at Manchester United. After a difficult first season under Louis van Gaal, he hit a run of form at the start of the 2015/16 campaign. That was cut short by a devastating leg break against PSV in the Champions League.

The long road to recovery was a difficult one, and even since his return to fitness, he has been subjected to a lot of harsh criticism from his own manager, José Mourinho.

But the England left-back believes the tough love approach has actually helped him turn his fortunes around. A strong start to this season was rewarded with a new long-term contract for which Shaw is thankful to Mourinho.

“I kind of enjoyed it,” he said, ahead of United’s Champions League clash with Young Boys on Tuesday. “It was a very big challenge for me with some of the things he’s said in the past, especially in the last year or two years.”

Last week Mourinho complained about the “mentality” and “lack of aggression” in the modern player, name-checking Shaw and some of his teammates, but the the 23-year-old was not fazed by his comments.

“What he said the other day, that was more a generational thing. I don’t think it was really aimed as much at us as individuals,” Shaw said.

“He’s talking about nowadays’ generation, as opposed to when he was a bit younger.

“You need a thick skin, of course, playing for the manager but 100% this club, it’s the biggest club in the world and we as players need to take what’s said on board.”

United take on Young Boys in their fifth group stage game of this season’s Champions League campaign. Mourinho’s side look likely to qualify for the knock-out stages, barring a disaster, with seven points after four matches. Juventus currently top the group with nine while Valencia trail in third place with five points.