Luke Shaw has insisted that Manchester United believe they can win the Champions League, despite being aware that “some people will think I’m stupid for saying that”.
United qualified for the Champions League round of 16 as Group F winners, finishing one point ahead of runners’ up Villarreal as Atalanta and Young Boys both crashed out.
Atletico Madrid are now awaiting the Red Devils in the first knockout stage, and Shaw says there is a strong collective belief within the dressing room that they can go on and lift the trophy in May.
What’s been said?
United are sitting fourth in the Premier League at the moment, 20 points behind leaders Manchester City, and have also suffered early exits in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
Ralf Rangnick’s side are being billed as rank outsiders in the Champions League due to their inconsistency, but Shaw says they are determined to prove their doubters wrong.
“As a team, we believe we can win the Champions League,” the defender has told the club’s official website. “There’s no reason why we can’t think that.
“Some people will think I’m stupid for saying that, but we have that belief and confidence that we can win it. Not many people on the outside will think that but I’m sure everyone in this dressing room – the players, the staff and the management – all have that same belief that we can.
“Now we need to pick some momentum up, get results and keep playing well.”
Shaw makes individual performance admission
United’s struggles in the first half of the season coincided with a slump in form for Shaw, who had been one of their standout players in the 2020-21 season.
The England international was criticised for his performances as he became plagued by familiar struggles for fitness, with Alex Telles seeing plenty of game time ahead of him at left-back as a result.
Shaw feels back to his best now, though, and is fully focused on finishing the campaign as strongly as possible.
“Personally the first half of the season for me was nowhere near where I can be, I know that,” he added ahead of Sunday’s trip to Leeds.
“I picked up a lot of niggling injuries and haven’t been 100 per cent fit.
“Now I feel great but the most important thing for me is about the team and what we need to do to improve and get back to fighting for better things than we are at the moment.”