Jose Mourinho revealed Luke shaw is back in his good books after a positive performance against Sunderland.
The 21-year-old started in the Premier League for just the second time in 2017 at the Stadium of Light.
And the left-back played his part by setting up Henrikh Mkhitaryan for United’s second goal in their 3-0 win.
Only last weekend, Mourinho insisted Shaw was ‘a long way behind’ other players in his position. But the England defender went some way to changing his manager’s mind at Sunderland.
Mourinho said: “He played well, played solid. The opposition was not creating big problems but he was solid and was confident with the ball, going forward with some danger.
“He was reading the game well to go to Mkhitaryan when he was inside.”
Shaw was taken off in the second half after appearing to take a knock on the ankle.
Mourinho revealed afterwards he had been replaced after picking up an early booking before hinting the former Southampton man will get more opportunities before the end of the season, especially with Ashley Young nursing a groin injury. Mourinho added: “He played really well. A good hour for him. I thought about a half-time change but thought it was too harsh for him.
“I wanted him to play a little bit more. So 2-0, one hour the crowd asking for everything and putting the referee under pressure – no risk. We need him to be available for the next match.”
The result moved United to within four points of Manchester City in fourth with a game in hand and a Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium to come.
Mourinho accepted the win had kept hopes of a top four finish alive with eight games to go.
Next up is a crucial week with a Europa League trip to Anderlecht followed by Chelsea’s visit to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday.
Mourinho said: “After Liverpool and Manchester City victories, if we don’t win today it’s almost mathematically impossible. We had to win and that was the main objective.
“We did that and no more injuries to add to a difficult list we have.
“We don’t hide that we are still fighting for our situation in the Premier League but Europa League becomes fundamental for us.