Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that substituting Luke Shaw at half-time in Thursday night’s Europa League win over Granada was a precautionary decision to ‘protect’ the left-back from the risk of suffering an injury.
Shaw has been one of United’s best players in recent months following his return to fitness from his latest setback in December, and even got his first England cap in two and a half years in last month’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Albania.
But it sparked concern among United fans when Shaw did not re-emerge for the second half against Granada on Thursday night.
Solskjaer has allayed fears, insisting it was a precaution to withdraw the player rather than a necessary measure. That means Shaw should be fit for the important away trip to Tottenham on Sunday.
“I had to protect Luke. But I think and hope he should be okay for the weekend,” Solskjaer explained after the final whistle in Granada, via ManUtd.com.
Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scored the crucial goals in an otherwise less than enthralling contest, although Solskjaer called it ‘not a perfect night’ because yellow cards mean that Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and the aforementioned Shaw are suspended for the return leg.
In the hunt for a first major trophy since winning the Europa League in 2017, United hold a 2-0 aggregate lead heading back to Old Trafford for the second leg next week, making them strong favourites to progress to the semi-finals.
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“We know how difficult it is to come to Spain to get a result like this and I'm very happy with the result,” Solskjaer told BT Sport.
“Marcus and Bruno have been exceptional for us and are so important. The first goal was a very good run from Marcus, he took the ball fantastically and a good finish, and Bruno is so good on penalties.
"We want to win every game of football. It's still a young, learning team and we have to improve all the time. It catches you so quickly if you rest and we can't have any other approach other than to go forward and try to score goals [in the second leg]."