It’s been 24 hours since Hector Moreno fractured Luke Shaw’s leg in two places. Shaw’s had surgery and remains in Holland recuperating. Most fans are still fuming. I know I am. Moreno’s was either an extremely unfortunate and clumsy act at an intense moment for which he has subsequently apologized or: he did him.
UEFA plumped for an unfortunate accident.
United are said to be furious at Moreno’s MOM award which is determined by UEFA officials and website staff, but Howard Webb says in the Manchester Evening News the ref got it right.
Luke Shaw’s injury was awful and I wish him a speedy recovery. But I have got to say that the referee made the right decision on the night,” says Webb.
“Moreno stretches with his right leg, which plays the ball cleanly. His left leg makes some contact on the follow through, but it is always tucked away under him and not aimed towards Luke Shaw.
“Luke is unlucky in that he gets his studs caught and twists, which causes the injury, but on the night, I think the referee made the right decision.”
The injury obviously influenced and overshadowed United’s performance. But even in defeat the signs were there the team is progressing. As straight talking Paul Scholes said:
Yet Shaw’s loss is enormous and now Van Gaal has to retool. I don’t know if playing Rojo as Smalling’s partner will work. Was it a coincidence that Darmian had his worst game in a United shirt on Wednesday? Blind looks out of place at left back and maybe the safest selection is Rojo at left back? Darmian, Smalling and Blind had developed an understanding, why disrupt it?
I also owe Memphis Depay an apology. I’ve been among his biggest critics so far, but his goal was terrific. The shift to take the ball between two defenders and then the finish was first rate. Now do it in the league! Ruud Van Nistlerooy is also full of praise for Anthony Martial. In another Evening News story Van Nistlerooy suggests Martial and Rooney could be the striking combination the team has been searching for.
“Martial could be revelation. But on the other side is it really realistic to expect that from him? He hasn’t got a lot of experience but he has great quality.
“I didn’t know anything about Anthony but it could be one of those unexpected successes. But he needs time. He looks like he has a lot of quality but we will have to see how that develops.
“Hopefully for United he can be the one. He looks like the out and out striker that is needed.
So now for Southampton. Presumably Schnedierlin will play in place of Schweinsteiger who had another fine game Wednesday but may need a rest.
What’s impressed me is the way the club has handled this week’s adversity. No overblown public drama. The players rallying around Shaw and a reliance on the supporters and pundits to express outrage. Smart.