Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has explained that January’s 6-0 FA Cup victory over Tranmere Rovers was the catalyst for their change in fortunes this season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side’s eleven game unbeaten run before the coronavirus postponement began with the emphatic win at Prenton Park.
Six different players; Harry Maguire, Diogo Dalot, Jesse Lingard, Phil Jones, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood were all on the scoresheet as United comfortably ensured their progression into the next round, albeit against significantly weaker opposition.
Some United fans will forget the huge pressure that Solskjaer was under before this FA Cup tie. An embarrassing home defeat to Burnley had led many to call for the Norwegian’s head and a shock FA Cup defeat could have been the final straw.
But Shaw has credited the professionalism in the thrashing as the turning point in their season.
“It was a very professional performance and attitude,” Shaw told the United’s official website
“I think that gave everyone a confidence boost because, after that, if I’m not mistaken, we’ve gone on a really good run since that win. So that game was our stepping stone to improve as a team, and to keep a really good record going.”
“In any game it’s really important to get the first goal, but especially in games like that.
“We didn’t start the best. They might have had a couple of chances, but a special goal from H [Maguire] helped settle the nerves.
“We built into the game from there on and we scored quite a few good goals, to be fair. It was a good day, [with] obviously going through to the next round.
“It was a very positive changing room, a happy one, because we had come off the back of not very good results.”
United have since had impressive victories against Chelsea and Manchester City in the Premier League and have all but secured their place in the Europa League quarter-finals.
The indefinite suspension of football has come at the worst possible time for the Reds, who were fighting on three fronts before their momentum was halted.