Shaw had started the game at left-back, but was forced off at half-time, to be replaced by Victor Lindelof. At that point United were leading thanks to Rasmus Hojlund’s first-half opener.
But the Red Devils were pegged back with 23 minutes to go when Douglas Luiz fired past Andre Onana. As the game looked to be heading for a stalemate, Diogo Dalot delivered a brilliant cross for substitute Scott McTominay to crash a header home.
McTominay’s late header proved to be enough for Ten Hag’s side to claim all three points. But after the game there was immediate concern for Shaw, though his manager has moved to play down those worries.
“[It was a] precaution. He mentioned some complaints and we can’t take a risk with, especially Luke Shaw, because he has had so 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,” he said.
“It’s not an advantage. Everyone knows my philosophy, to have Licha Martinez and Luke Shaw, two left-footed [defenders], and we 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.”
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Ten Hag’s moves to play down Shaw’s injury problem will certainly please former United captain Gary Neville. The former fullback was highly criticial of Lindelof after he had replaced the England international.
He told Sky Sports: “With Shaw going off, you see there they have been dominant this last 15-minutes, mainly on the right. It’s as much a problem in possession as it is out of possession. Shaw going off has been devastating for United. They’ve not coped well with it at all.”
United boss Ten Hag was otherwise pleased with his side’s performance against one of their rivals for a top four spot. And the Dutchman believes the win could prove crucial come the end of the season.
“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,” he said.
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“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.
“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.”
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