“This season was not my season, I regret I didn’t achieve my personal aim.” Shinji Kagawa
Shinji Kagawa has admitted that he is disappointed with how his first season went at Manchester United.
Despite United regaining the Premier League trophy, the 24-year-old Japanese playmaker does not feel he contributed enough to the title winning campaign and on a personal level, he is disappointed with how his debut season panned out.
Speaking to throngs of reporters back in Japan about his year, Kagawa said: “Fans expected a lot of me but I only got six goals this season.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t reach ten goals which was my personal target. And compared to my Borussia Dortmund era, I have contributed much less to Manchester United this season.
“This season was not my season, I regret I didn’t achieve my personal aim.”
Kagawa started off very sprightly in his first game against Everton but as is always the case with players who are new to the Premier League, it takes time for them to adapt.
A knee injury in November knocked him back but he had a superb second half of the season when he recovered from the injury.
His hat-trick against Norwich at the start of March was followed up with a superb performance away to West Ham and he was starting to show the fans just why United snapped him up in the summer.
But despite his improvements towards the end of the season, Kagawa refused to give himself any praise.
“I doubted myself and lost my confidence and those bad cycles repeat themselves,” he continued.
“But finally, I believed strongly in myself. Overall, I’m not satisfied with my statistics or performance.
“I began to show my strengths game by game and played very well in the second half of the season as I was patient.”
He was indeed very patient. Even when he was fully fit, he found himself stuck out on the left wing to accommodate Rooney in the middle (something which breaks his ex-manager Jurgen Klopp’s heart) and his talent was stifled.
When he did get the chance to play centrally, he was superb. There’s no attacking player like him at United; his balance, poise, nose for a pass and intelligence make him such a threat to the opposition.
And next year under David Moyes, fans are hoping to see the real Kagawa come out of his shell and tear up the Premier League – something he wants to do himself.
“I think players will improve under the new manager David Moyes and he will soon establish his style of football and system into the team,” he said.
“I have to be a crucial player to the team. Competition amongst us has started I think.
“After the Confederations Cup, I will relax in Japan and refresh myself for the new season.”
Kagawa will be playing in the Confederations Cup with Japan and jetting straight off to the pre-season tour only a few weeks later and while that may be a bad thing for some players, it should help Kagawa. It means he will come to United fully match fit and ready to fully kick start his United career.
And if his last season at Dortmund is anything to go by – where he scored 21 goals and got ten assists – United are yet to see even half of what Kagawa can do as a player.