Luke Shaw admits he has been impressed by the way Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has quickly brought positivity and attacking football back to Manchester United since replacing Jose Mourinho.
It is less than two weeks since the Old Trafford hierarchy called time on the divisive manager’s reign, having grown concerned by the style as much as substance while background issues piled up.
United great Solskjaer was swiftly parachuted in as caretaker manager and could scarcely have asked for a better start, with the 5-1 shellacking of former club Cardiff followed by a 3-1 Boxing Day triumph against Huddersfield.
They were Shaw’s first matches since the start of December after sustaining a knock and then, Press Association Sport understands, being marginalised by Mourinho, whose testing relationship with the left-back flared up again.
The 23-year-old has remained respectful about the Portuguese since his departure, but it is clear how much he and his team-mates are enjoying Solskjaer’s fresh approach. Even Ryan Giggs reckons a push for the top four is still on.
“I think you can see from the outside how much he has changed things in such a short space of time,” Shaw said.
“He is just a really positive manager, he knows what the club needs and also what the fans want in the way we are playing.
“He’s bringing that attacking, quick play back to Old Trafford. I’m sure the fans are going to appreciate that as much as we (the players) do.”
Shaw will be hoping to make a third straight start when Bournemouth visit on Sunday afternoon, when Solskjaer is aiming to become just the third United manager to win his first three league matches in charge.
While the opponents to date are not the best yardstick with which to measure progress, the Norwegian has certainly brought a much-needed injection of optimism since his shock appointment.
So surprising was Solskjaer’s arrival that Shaw claims not to have known it was coming.
“The truth? My girlfriend told me,” Shaw told Sky Sports.
“I woke up in the morning and had a shower and she ran out of the room and told me.
“I did not have a clue, I didn’t look at my phone or anything. That’s how I found out… from my girlfriend.”
Caretaker boss Solskjaer will be hoping to be able to call upon Anthony Martial on Sunday, having returned to training following an illness that kept the forward out of the Huddersfield clash.
Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez are pushing to be involved for the first time under the Norwegian after an unspecified absence and hamstring injury respectively.
Chris Smalling is sidelined with a foot complaint, but Solskjaer says Scott McTominay and Marcos Rojo are closing in on full fitness.
The latter will be happy to see the end of a frustrating year, with injury and then a lack of opportunity meaning the Argentina international did not make his first appearance of the season until December 5.
In fact, Rojo made just eight club appearances this calendar year, so is naturally hoping that 2019 goes better.
“On a personal level, I want to get back to my best level of fitness, to compete at the highest level once again so I can play in as many matches as possible,” the defender told United Review.
“For the team, to turn around this current situation we are in, which isn’t too great.
“I hope next year we can be a little bit more consistent and that things go better for us.
“I hope that as a squad we can perform at our highest level and get as far as we can in every trophy we play for.”
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