Defender Luke Shaw feels there is now “light at the end of the tunnel” as he aims to kickstart his Manchester United career under Jose Mourinho.
The left-back saw his “focus and ambition” publicly questioned by the United manager as he struggled to hold down a regular place in the side following his return to action from a double leg fracture.
Shaw, who joined United in a £27million deal from Southampton during the summer of 2014, was handed his first start in five weeks in the 3-0 Premier League victory at Sunderland, although he was then back on the bench for Thursday night’s European tie away to Anderlecht.
The 21-year-old believes, having cleared the air with Mourinho, everyone can start to look forwards.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Shaw said: “The criticism was very hard, but I’ve had it before. This time around I dealt with it better.
“When I first came to United there was a lot of discussion about me and that was hard, it was something that was new to me. I was used to positive feedback and comments in the media, but coming to United everything changed, there was negativity.
“I took that badly and it knocked me down a bit, but this time I’ve come back wanting to fight and I want to prove everyone wrong.
“At the end of my meeting with the manager I said, ‘I’m going to prove you wrong’. I believe and want to do that, not just for myself but for the fans that have been behind me and supported me through this time.”
Shaw could well be drafted back into the defence for Sunday’s home Premier League match against leaders Chelsea.
“I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I want to push for the best from me,” Shaw continued.
“I wished the season wasn’t coming to an end, I wish it was the start, because I want to play games and hopefully I can keep giving good performances and keep my spot in the team and push for the Europa League and top four.”
Mourinho praised Shaw’s display against Sunderland, where the defender came off just after the hour mark and was given a handshake and pat on the back by his manager.
“You could say I have turned the corner, but I would say I am at the start of turning the corner,” Shaw said.
“It was what I needed after what the manager had said over the last couple of weeks, although I took it positively.
“When he said ‘good performance’ when I came off the pitch (at Sunderland) it made me feel better as a person and more confident than I already was.
“I had a really good chat with him (after the criticism) and I totally agree with him – I will do whatever he wants.
“I’ve always been a hard worker, but maybe, if I look back, maybe I wasn’t working as hard as he likes.”
Shaw believes there can now be a positive end to a difficult chapter of his young career.
“We had a really good talk and he discussed what he wanted from me and, even in a week-and-a-half, I have seen a massive change in myself, not just on the pitch but off it as well,” the defender added.
“Now it’s my time to fight until the end of the season and show the boss what I can bring to help his team.”