Ibra left the club a fortnight ago for PSG.
He was often spotted shouting at him during games.
El Shaarawy admitted: “I know, he never wants anyone to make a mistake and at times was a little heavy-handed, but he was doing it to motivate me and keep me fired up. Besides, he did it with everyone, not just me.
“Let’s say Ibra was an important presence on the field and in the locker room... Nobody wants to even lose the training games between ranks here, as it’s a battle every day.
“We won many games without Ibrahimovic, you know. We are a team and not a bad one. We’ve got less quality without him and Thiago Silva, but there will be more responsibility on everyone’s shoulders and we can build here. I am optimistic.”