Jose Mourinho has congratulated Manchester United star Luke Shaw for his superb Euro 2020 and admitted he ‘may have been too harsh’ on him.
The left-back was key for England en route to the final where they cruelly lost 3-2 on penalties to Italy having drawn 1-1 after extra-time.
His displays against Germany, Ukraine, Denmark, and the Italians were superb with his three assists and one goal putting him in the running for Player of the Tournament.
Shaw has now re-emerged as one of the best players in his position in world football after several tough years following a horror leg break back in 2015, which could have cut his career short.
Initially he struggled to get back to the level he was showing prior to that with Mourinho, during his time as United boss, doing his all to get the best out of him between 2016-2018.
And Mourinho gave Shaw special praise for his impressive improvements since the pair were together at Old Trafford.
He 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. On top of that he improved and improved, and improved.
“He scored a goal that doesn’t mean much but for him, for his career, for the way he grew up, very good. Very good Luke Shaw.”
Mourinho was then queried by Premier League star Andros Townsend about his handling of the player.
Some felt he had been too hard on a young player returning from a serious injury, and the Portuguese admitted he may have been.
He replied: “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 to create some friction and to put pressure on the player.
“Maybe I was too harsh with him and he was not ready for that.
“The injury was such an incredible injury but I think in this moment where the country looks to him, and deservedly, as a left-back for the national team.
“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.
“I still think that he has more to give because his potential is good and now he is defending well, he knows how to defend space inside which was a weakness for him.
“His defence transition when he goes forward and the team loses the ball, his recovery back, he shows a much better intensity.
“Going forward he is more confident, better crosses.”
But Mourinho wasn’t quite willing to name Shaw his player of the tournament, that accolade went to Gianluigi Donnarumma, while Kyle Walker also received glowing praise.
“I think [Shaw] was good but yesterday if I was trying to choose, just for me, the player of the tournament but I was doing that before the penalties. I was trying to do that without knowing who was going to win the competition.
“Verratti didn’t play the first one and two games, Chiellini didn’t play the second and the third. This player did amazing here but not amazing there. And before the penalties my player of the tournament was Kyle Walker.
“I think Kyle Walker was phenomenal. From the first minute of the competition until the moment he came off in the final he was phenomenal.
“He was giving cover to centre-backs on the opposite side. I don’t remember him losing one single duel. He didn’t go forward as much as he does in the club because of a strategy point of view.
“When I call a player an animal it is the best compliment I can do to a player. Kyle Walker – an absolute animal. For me, phenomenal. From the first to the last minute he was in that element.”
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