Jose Mourinho praised defender Luke Shaw after making his first Manchester United start of the season, and described his performance as “very, very good” in the 2-1 Champions League victory over CSKA Moscow that secured top spot in Group A.
United will head into Monday’s last-16 draw as one of the seeded sides following the victory, with Mourinho choosing to use the final Champions League group game as a chance to hand Shaw his first United start in 219 days.
In total, Shaw had played just 48 minutes of EFL Cup football this season, both of which came from the substitutes’ bench, but Mourinho decided to give the 22-year-old England international a chance to impress and was pleased with how the left-back went about his business.
“Some of the guys who do not play regularly, Luke Shaw, especially offensively was very, very good, and made a great contribution to the team,” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“He was waiting for quite a long time, he has been deserving for quite a long time. It is not easy to give an opportunity to a player that does not play for many months in matches where the team really needs results.
“He managed to stay on for 90 minutes. I told him this is not a test, this is an opportunity to play and prove your level. Honestly I am happy with his performance.”
Shaw has struggled to force his way back into the United first team since suffering a broken leg that sidelined him for the best part of a year, and Mourinho has elevated Ashley Young – a natural midfielder – Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind ahead of Shaw in the left-back pecking order.
Unless he can tie down regular first-team football by forcing his way into Mourinho’s squad, Shaw looks destined to miss out on a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for next summer’s 2018 World Cup in Russia, with Young earning himself a recall this year due to his form as a makeshift left-back.