Luke Shaw is on a mission to end his cup final heartache with Manchester United and lift the Europa League trophy.
Shaw has missed out on the three finals United have reached since joining the club in 2014, and has endured two semi-final defeats as well.
When United won the FA Cup in 2016 under Louis van Gaal, left-back Shaw missed out, as he was continuing his recovery from a double leg break.
In 2017, when United won the League Cup and Europa League under Jose Mourinho, Shaw was overlooked for the first and injured for the second.
England international Shaw was also overlooked for selection by Mourinho in 2018, when United suffered a 1-0 FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea at Wembley.
Shaw’s miserable run has continued under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, losing successive League Cup semi-finals to Manchester City, as well as missing out on FA Cup and Europa League semi-finals through injury.
Against that backdrop, Shaw is desperate to make up for those missed opportunities – starting with tonight’s Europa League semi-final first leg against Roma at Old Trafford.
“Of course, personally it’s a massive motivation,’ said Shaw. “I’ve been quite unfortunate not to be involved in some semi-finals and finals. So I’m looking forward to stepping out in one, but from a team point of view it’s very important.
“We’ve missed out on a few, but we have real belief that we can make it this time and it’s a game we’re ready for. First and foremost, no semi-final is easy, they’re always tough games, and we’ve just missed out on a few.
“We had a lot of disappointment from that and can use it as motivation, from the way we felt after, reflect on that and put things right. We want to win this trophy.”
Shaw, 25, was forced to watch from the sidelines as United went all the way in the Europa League in 2017, the last trophy the club won.
Reflecting on that, Shaw admitted he suffered conflicting emotions – happy for United and his team-mates, but devastated not to be involved himself.
“Of course I was extremely happy for the players, my team-mates, but everyone will agree that when you’re not involved and don’t have the kit on, it’s not the same,” said Shaw.
“I was very happy for the club and for my team-mates, but of course you want to be playing.”
Shaw, who endured a difficult relationship with Mourinho, has thrived under Solskjaer, who has brought out the best in him.
Asked what had changed, Shaw said: “A lot of things. One of them is the manager. Myself as well, I’ve changed a lot of things and I believe in myself more.”