Luke Shaw has shed light on the buoyant mood in the dressing room following Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Manchester City in the League Cup on Wednesday night.
Mourinho’s men, perhaps still reeling from Sunday’s demolition at Stamford Bridge, begun the game tentatively, struggling to break down Man City’s back line.
However, attacking the Stretford End, Man United came out fighting in the second-half, and duly secured an important win through Juan Mata‘s 54 minute strike.
Speaking after the game, Shaw was adamant that the win over Pep Guardiola’s side will serve as a monumental confidence booster.
“It was very important,” he said. “We focused on Man City leading up to the game, but we knew how big this game was.
“We saw (Pep) Guardiola said it was like a final and to us that is what it felt like and to get the win was massive.
“I think a big confidence boost after obviously the disappointing result that we bounced back, got a win and now we need to go on a winning streak I would say.”
A derby win, a clean sheet, and handing Guardiola an unwelcome record of failing to win in six games for the first time in his managerial career. It was, in many ways, the perfect response to United’s humiliation against Chelsea, and indeed to the swathe of criticism that fell their way in the aftermath.
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of United’s display was their unyielding solidity at the back. A back four described by Gary Neville as ‘mannequins’ on Sunday had transformed into a powerful defensive unit. And at the heart of that was, of course, Shaw.
His shaky first-half, in which he struggled to cope with Jesus Navas’ raw speed, was clearly addressed by Mourinho at half time, and it paid dividends. United fans will now hope that such prowess all across the back, even in the absence of Eric Bailly, can be maintained.