Luke Shaw accepts blame for Manchester United defeat but slams key decision before last-gasp penalty

·3-min read
Inexplicable: Luke Shaw’s foolish last-gasp handball cost Manchester United dearly against Brighton  (Getty Images)
Inexplicable: Luke Shaw’s foolish last-gasp handball cost Manchester United dearly against Brighton (Getty Images)

Luke Shaw owned up to his last-gasp error that cost Manchester United dearly against Brighton, but insisted that the corner at which he committed his foolish handball should never have taken place.

Shaw excelled once again alongside Victor Lindelof out of position at centre-back in Thursday’s enthralling FA Cup semi-final rematch at the Amex Stadium, and looked to have played a key role in Erik ten Hag’s side grinding out a valuable point in their quest for Champions League qualification.

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That was until a truly chaotic finish to the game, when the England defender competed with Brighton captain Lewis Dunk at a stoppage-time corner and inexplicably threw up his left arm and produced a blatant handball that was spotted by the VAR and led to a 99th-minute penalty after referee Andre Marriner was told to review the incident on the pitchside monitor.

Alexis Mac Allister duly stepped up and held his nerve to send David de Gea the wrong way with an emphatic effort from the spot, with Brighton gaining sweet revenge for their Wembley heartbreak last month and jumping up to sixth spot following a major boost in their own bid for European football next term.

A downcast Shaw, to his credit, fronted up to Sky Sports immediately after such a galling self-inflicted defeat, admitting that he should never have made the mistake but also insisting there was a clear push from Dunk. His main complaint with the officials was with the awarding of the initial free-kick in the build-up to the Brighton corner in question, with Shaw adamant that his tussle with Julio Enciso should never have been given as a foul.

"Last minute, last action really,” he said. “I got a little nudge but of course the hand shouldn't be there. I own up to it, take it on the chin. It cost us the game but it is tough.

"I can't even explain why my hand is up there. I got a nudge, maybe that helps with my hand going up but it shouldn't be there.

"Even before the corner, the free-kick was never a foul. I am not looking for excuses, but it shouldn't have been a foul that led to the corner. So maybe that corner shouldn't have even happened. I am not accusing the referee of anything. Hands up, a silly mistake that cost us a point."

Shaw went on to lament United’s lack of potency in front of goal on an entertaining night on the south coast when both teams created several strong chances to break the deadlock, with Brighton by far the better team after the interval.

"The problem is we don't score,” he said. “We had three or four big chances in the first half we should be scoring. That is happening a lot of times this season. Then again, it comes down to my mistake at the end but with the chances we had we should be scoring. The game is completely different if we score with the chances we make.

"Maybe not clinical enough, I don't know what else to say. I say about that but obviously go down to the other end and what I did. It is totally disappointing and I lost us a point at the end."

Asked how the late, late loss of a point affects their Champions League bid, Shaw said: "It changes nothing. It is still in our hands. We have to pick ourselves up from the position we are in. We were comfortable but now you could say there is a real chase. Teams around us are picking up points. We still have a game in hand and it is in our hands."