Luke Shaw says everyone enjoys working with Erik ten Hag and believes in the new manager’s approach as Manchester United prepare to kick off a season they are desperate to finish with silver medals.
At one time last year, there was hope and anticipation around Old Trafford after several eye-catching signings followed second-place finishes in both the Premier League and the Europa League.
But by November, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was out and interim successor Ralph Rangnick failed as United fell home sixth in a humiliating end to an unforgettable season.
A 4-0 loss to Brighton in the penultimate match highlighted everything that was wrong at United, who launched a new campaign against Graham Potter’s Seagulls at Old Trafford.
Sunday’s clash will be former Ajax boss Ten Hag’s first game in charge after a tense pre-season in which longtime left-back Shaw is feeling the benefits.
“I think we are definitely moving in the right direction for the team,” the United defender told MUTV.
“Obviously the manager had to come in and bring his ideas, his structure, what he wants from the team – both from the team and from individuals.
“I think everyone kind of believed it and really enjoyed the preseason.
“As I said, we are definitely moving in the right direction, but we also have room for improvement. We know it, we know we need to get better.”
Ten Hag has made an impression since taking over and the club are keen to bolster his squad as United look to end their relative trophy drought.
The 2017 Europa League is their last Silver Cup and Shaw has that in mind as the team looks to hit the ground running right away.
“Of course, I think we are always looking for a great start,” he added.
“I think we as a team should set high goals for ourselves, and high goals are winning trophies. Some time has passed.
“In a new direction, I think that’s definitely something we should aim for. We must aim higher.
“We have to raise the standards and we have to aim for what we want to achieve.”
United have suffered an injury to Anthony Martial ahead of the season opener, raising the chances of willing star Cristiano Ronaldo being tapped despite playing just 45 minutes in pre-season.
New signings Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malasia are keen to debut and Shaw said the trio has been accepted by the group.
“It’s good,” he said of the dressing room dynamics. “I think it has always been good.
“We all get along very well, we are kind of like a family. I think it’s important. I think we need to create a kind of family atmosphere.
“I think it makes everyone feel together, close, and I think it’s better on the pitch.
“When we’re together we know what everyone likes to do and what they want, so I think it’s definitely a good vibe and I think it’s even more enjoyable obviously with a new manager and his ideas.”