England fans celebrate Luke Shaw's opening goal
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Jose Mourinho suggested that he was too harsh on England left-back Luke Shaw during his time as Manchester United manager. The Portuguese was often critical of Shaw, who has since developed into a fine player and shone on the left-side of defence for England at Euro 2020.
After a slow start from the majority of the England team, Shaw truly grew into the tournament and put in some majestic performances going into the later rounds.
The 26-year-old, who celebrates his birthday today, scored the opener against Italy in England’s first major tournament final appearance for 55 years.
After Leonardo Bonucci’s equaliser, Shaw and his team-mates went on to suffer an agonising penalty shootout defeat to deny them a famous title at Wembley.
Mourinho told talkSPORT: “Because people think I don’t like Luke Shaw, I have to say, amazing tournament. A fantastic final. No defensive mistakes. Very solid.
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“On top of that he improved and improved, and improved. Very good Luke Shaw.
“I always tried to find what I considered to be the weakness of the player and sometimes I’m successful, other times I’m not.
“Other times I can create empathy with the player and get the best out of them.
“Other times the best way to get the best out of them is not to create empathy and is to try to create some friction and to put pressure on the player.
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“Maybe I was too harsh with him and he was not ready for that.
“From my side, I can only say congratulations to him because he did it by himself. For sure with the help and support of his coaches in the club and in the national team.”
Shaw generally struggled under Mourinho when the pair were at Old Trafford between 2016 and 2018, with the Portuguese often taking his criticism of the player public.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he has grown into a crucial part of United’s side both in attack and defence, developing a scintillating relationship with Marcus Rashford on the left.
At Euro 2020, Shaw notched three assists and the coolly-finished opener in the final, just his fourth goal in senior football and his first in an England shirt.
Although Mourinho has sent something in the way of praise and an apology in the player’s direction, his Euros fairy-tale was not meant to be.
With Rashford missing a crucial penalty in the shootout and Shaw denied an historic winner, the United pair will have to dust themselves down and sweep the disappointment under the carpet ahead of next season.
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