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Aston Villa vs Manchester United: Why was Luke Shaw substituted at half-time?

Manchester United kept their fading top-four hopes alive with a dramatic late win at Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday. Erik ten Hag’s side grabbed the late winner through substitute Scott McTominay. This victory has blown the top four race wide open and has given optimism for the Red Devils to mount a serious challenge in the final few months of the season. Despite the fact that the win provided several benefits, there was one major setback for United.

Versatile left-back Luke Shaw was replaced by Victor Lindelof at half-time break. This raised concerns among supporters regarding Shaw’s fitness. Providing an update on the same, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag told in his post-match interviews with MUTV and Sky Sports, “It was a precaution. He mentioned some complaints and we can’t take a risk, especially not with Luke Shaw, because he has had many injuries in the past. We took him off so that it did not become an injury. We have to see how it develops in the coming days.”

Hopefully it’s not too bad with Luke Shaw: Erik ten Hag

This development comes on the back of the recent blow suffered by United with Lisandro Martinez sustaining a big injury. With left-footed Martinez out and another left-footed Shaw being taken off at half time against Aston Villa, ten Hag played with a back four full of right-footed players in the second period. “It’s not an advantage. Everyone knows my philosophy, to have Licha Martinez and Luke Shaw, two left-footed [defenders]. Also, we haven’t had Tyrell Malacia available for the whole season. So all the way, all the time, we have to make compromises. And that is not in our advantage. But today we managed it and hopefully it’s not too bad with Luke,” the manager explained.

Meanwhile, ten Hag shifted the focus to the win and spoke about the importance of the three crucial points they collected at Villa Park. “It was massive. It’s a massive win for us. So, we get closer. And that was the aim for today and was absolutely our target. And we did it. And I think also the way we did it, I think I liked it, and of course, I liked especially the first 20 minutes. And when we are dictating the game, after I think we are dropping a little bit too much. We had our moments in the counter attacks, but yeah, I think then at 1-1, to fight back, we are really happy for today,” he told Sky Sports.

The manager then spoke about how his side did well to control the proceedings in the first 20 minutes but failed to continue with it. “I think our defensive organisation was, in the first part, very good. And once we were winning, then we changed our mindset. For me, you should play on and you can do this when a game is going to the end and to play out the result. But when you show you are dictating the first 20 minutes and you score, why not keep going?” he elaborated.

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