Louis van Gaal believes the tackle that broke Luke Shaw’s leg in two places was “reckless”, but says Hector Moreno was trying to win the ball.
Shaw suffered a significant blow to a promising season back in September, breaking his leg in two places after a tackle from Moreno in a Champions League clash between Manchester United and PSV.
The two sides will meet again in midweek at Old Trafford, with Moreno sure to face a tough reception from the home fans. However, Van Gaal has attempted to exempt Moreno of any blame beyond making a “reckless tackle”.
“I don’t think Hector Moreno did it on purpose,” Van Gaal told the Daily Mirror. “The purpose of the challenge was the ball and not the leg, but we have all seen the tackle and he didn’t just get the ball.
“That happens in football and it was very unfortunate for Luke Shaw. But the referee made a mistake. It had to be a penalty and a red card.
“These are the rules, so nobody can say to me it wasn’t a penalty or a lousy tackle. It was a lousy tackle. But the purpose of it was for the ball.”
Moreno broke down in tears upon visiting Shaw in hospital to apologise, but Van Gaal is unsure as to how the United fans will react when the 27-year-old visits Old Trafford on Wednesday.
“I cannot say what will happen, but until this moment the fans of Manchester United have always shown a special character,” Van Gaal said. “They always support the team, so I don’t know about Moreno.
“Luke has shown a fantastic and very positive attitude to Moreno and he is right to do that.
“But everything went against us that night. There was no penalty, no red card and so it affected the game a lot. Moreno then scored the equaliser.”
While Shaw is expected to play again this season in the build up to Euro 2016, Van Gaal has admitted he will look for a replacement left-back in January, with Ricardo Rodriguez among those mooted.
“I was convinced Shaw would have a very good season. Because of that I didn’t buy a second player for left-back because I thought he would play more or less every game.
“Maybe now we have to buy a left-back.”