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Erik ten Hag clarified that the decision to substitute Luke Shaw at half-time during Manchester United’s victory over Aston Villa was a precautionary measure.

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Shaw, who returned to action in late November after a muscle injury kept him sidelined for 16 games over a three-month period, has been gradually reintegrated into the starting lineup under Ten Hag’s management and has become a key player once again.

The left-back displayed an impressive performance in the first half of the game against Aston Villa, contributing to a solid defensive showing. However, he was substituted at half-time, with Victor Lindelof taking his place on the left side of the Man Utd defense. This substitution sparked concerns among fans that Shaw may have suffered another injury setback.

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Addressing the issue in a post-match interview after the 2-1 win, Ten Hag confirmed that the decision to substitute Shaw was a precautionary move prompted by the player expressing some concerns about a potential injury.

“It was a precaution. He mentioned some complaints, and we can’t take a risk, especially not with Luke Shaw, because he has had many injuries in the past,” Ten Hag affirmed. “We took him off so that it did not become an injury. We have to see how it develops in the coming days.”

Ten Hag also expressed concerns about the limited options of left-footed defenders currently available to him, with Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia also sidelined due to injuries.

“Everyone knows my philosophy, to have Licha Martinez and Luke Shaw, two left-footed [defenders]. Also, we haven’t had Tyrell Malacia available for the whole season,” Ten Hag explained. “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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