Manchester United defender Luke Shaw insists the Reds are keen to convert the point against Atalanta into knockout-stage qualification in the Champions League, in our remaining two Group F matches.
The Reds snatched a point right at the death against the Italian side on Tuesday evening, after Cristiano Ronaldo’s stoppage-time equaliser ensured a 2-2 draw with the Serie A club.
The result means United stay top of Group F on seven points, level with second-placed Villarreal but ahead on head-to-head record, after matchday four.
It does remain all to play for in the group however, with each and every one of the four teams able to secure one of the two qualification spots for the knockout rounds over the next two matches.
Shaw says that the Reds want to show it is lesson learned when it comes to progressing to the next round in this competition, having been cruelly knocked out of the Champions League on matchday six of the group stage last season, from a similar position to this entering the final two matches.
A trip to Villarreal awaits Shaw and co next in just under three weeks’ time before we return to M16 in December to face Young Boys on the final matchday.
“We obviously learnt from last year really, we need to. We don’t want to be in that situation again,” Luke told MUTV.
“We need to take charge [in the group], we need that confidence and belief that we can and should be doing it.
“And of course, we know that we still need to improve,” he added.
“We know that just because we beat Spurs 3-0 and we got an okay point out here we can’t just relax and get comfortable.
“We need to keep improving. We know that as a team and there’s much more to come with the talent we have in this squad. So, we need to keep focused, keep improving and getting better and better.”nullThe Reds will occupy top spot in Group F when the Champions League resumes later this month after Ronaldo’s last-gasp leveller meant that we at least took a point from our first-ever trip to Atalanta.
Shaw says the point is not what the Reds set out for, but it is something that they will take given the circumstance of the match.
“It was a very difficult game. It’s of course not what we wanted, we wanted three points. That was the main focus, to win the game, take the three points.
“But the situation we were in, 2-1 down, last sort of five minutes, I think there’s probably only one person you want the ball to fall to and luckily it was him [Ronaldo]. He saved us again with a crucial goal.
“You see day in, day out the way he is, the way he conducts himself. He wants to win.
“Before the game, he’s always speaking, encouraging everyone and you know he’s going to be there. You know he’s a very important player, he has been for many years now and he’s always in the right place at the right time.
“Not just tonight, he’s done it since he’s been here really. It’s incredible to have someone like that in your team when you need them most.”
The attentions of Shaw, Ronaldo and the team will swiftly return to the Premier League over the coming hours, with the derby-day visit of Manchester City to Old Trafford next up, in Saturday’s early kick-off.
Off the back of matches against Tottenham and now Atalanta in recent days, the left-back says our neighbours will provide another tough opponent at the weekend, but another challenge that the Reds will no doubt thrive taking on.
“These are the games you want to be involved in, the big games, the important games and we need to be ready for it.
“We’re at home, we need to be ready, it’s going to be a very difficult game.
“But like I said, we need to keep that focus and that concentration that we’ve had over the last two games and take it into this one.”