Erik ten Hag slams referee decisions after Manchester United suffer last-gasp loss at Brighton

Crucial mistake: Luke Shaw’s last-gasp handball cost Manchester United a point against Brighton  (Manchester United via Getty Imag)
Crucial mistake: Luke Shaw’s last-gasp handball cost Manchester United a point against Brighton (Manchester United via Getty Imag)

Erik ten Hag joined Luke Shaw in bemoaning a key refereeing decision in the build-up to the last-gasp penalty that earned Brighton all three points against Manchester United.

England defender Shaw tossed away all the plaudits initially received for another accomplished display out of position at centre-back with an inexplicable handball while competing with Lewis Dunk at a stoppage-time corner that was spotted by the VAR and led to Alexis Mac Allister slamming home a 99th-minute spot-kick at the Amex Stadium.

A distraught Shaw owned up to his mistake immediately after the final whistle, but bemoaned referee Andre Marriner’s decision to award an initial free-kick in the build-up to the fateful corner in question after he had tussled with Brighton attacker Julio Enciso just outside the box.

Such complaints were later backed up by manager Ten Hag, who also lamented what he saw as a number of dangerous challenges going unpunished during an eventful Premier League showdown on the south coast.

"The annoying thing is that the free-kick before (the corner) is never a free-kick and I have seen really bad tackles today, sometimes without whistles as well," the Dutchman said.

"Every attack you make, they kick you and then from a fair block it's a free-kick and it's a corner and then it's a disappointing handball in the dying seconds and you can't react any more.

"It's not about me to give a judgement about the ref. We lost this game, we make a mistake in the end and we didn't take our chances but of course there are some disappointments."

Reflecting in general on a third straight league defeat against Brighton that gave the Seagulls revenge for last month’s FA Cup semi-final heartbreak at Wembley, Ten Hag said: “Every defeat is a disappointment but in the end when you lose in the last second, that is of course annoying.

"And I think the first minute sums everything up. We create a good chance, we were not clinical enough, then in the attack after we concede a big chance by a giveaway from us, the ball on the head for David [de Gea].

"And in the end, we also gave away the goal and that's annoying because if you can't win because you don't finish your opportunities then don't lose."