Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Luke Shaw was substituted at half time in Sunday's 2-1 Premier League win over Aston Villa for precautionary reasons.
The Red Devils clung onto their slender lead as the break arrived, but the visitors emerged for the second half without Shaw in sight, as Victor Lindelof took on an emergency left-back role.
With the Swede not a natural fit in the full-back position, Aston Villa unsurprisingly targeted Lindelof's side in an attempt to claw their way back into the game, and their endeavours were rewarded when Douglas Luiz swept home the leveller.
However, another substitution from Ten Hag paid dividends late on, as Scott McTominay met Diogo Dalot's delivery with a bullet header in the 86th minute, his seventh Premier League goal of the 2023-24 season.
Man United's success means that the 20-time English champions stay sixth in the table, but they have just five points to make up to fifth-placed Aston Villa and remain in contention for back-to-back Champions League qualifications.
Concern quickly turned to Shaw's condition after the game, though, especially considering the left-back's history of injuries, but Ten Hag revealed to Sky Sports News that the Englishman was not taken off due to a major issue.
"Precaution. He had some complaints and we can't take any risks with him because he's had any injuries in the past. We'll have to see how it goes in the next few days," Ten Hag explained.
Whether Shaw is back in contention for next weekend's trip to Luton Town remains to be seen, but Ten Hag is already without two left-sided options in Tyrell Malacia (knee) and Lisandro Martinez, who was recently ruled out for eight weeks with his own knee problem.
Ten Hag conceded that "compromises" had to be made in order to work around his side's defensive injury conundrum, adding: "It's not an advantage. 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. 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."
Shaw boasts four goals and 29 assists in 274 matches for Man United in all competitions since joining from Southampton in 2014, setting up one goal in 14 matches during the current campaign.No Data Analysis info