Hector Moreno getting man of the match award leaves Manchester United aghast

'Luke Shaw’s injury was awful – but I have to say that the referee made the right decision,' said PSV defender

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The Independent Football

Manchester United have reacted in disbelief to Uefa’s decision to give the man of the match award to Hector Moreno on Tuesday night in Eindhoven, after PSV’s Mexican defender launched the misjudged tackle that broke the leg of Luke Shaw.

The United officials in the Netherlands for the game thought that decision on Moreno, who himself had his leg broken at the World Cup last year, was a poor choice on the part of the European governing body. A source at United said: “We find it strange and disappointing that Uefa made him [Moreno] man of the match after what happened to Luke.”

The player underwent surgery on Tuesday night and his parents, Paul and Joanna, were at his side in Eindhoven, having been at the Champions League game. Shaw, who on Tuesday night tweeted his determination to “come back stronger”, is expected to stay in Eindhoven for another day before returning home. The hope is that Shaw will only require six months to come back from the fracture, which would mean he could have a chance of playing at Euro 2016. It has been a dismal week for two of Roy Hodgson’s young players, with the announcement that Jack Wilshere will be out for three months following surgery to insert a metal plate in his left tibula.

Moreno, who apologised for the tackle on Tuesday night, will not face any retrospective Uefa action and was not penalised by the referee.

Indeed, Moreno was defended by former referee Howard Webb, who felt that Moreno’s trailing leg, which appears to connect with Shaw’s right leg, was not fully extended. Either way, even playing the ball, the PSV defender looked to have lost control of the challenge as he launched himself desperately at Shaw as the full-back ran into the area.

Webb said: “Luke Shaw’s injury was awful and I wish him a speedy recovery. But I have got to say that the referee made the right decision on the night. Moreno stretches with his right leg, which plays the ball cleanly. His left leg makes some contact on the follow-through, but it is always tucked away under him and not aimed towards Luke Shaw.

“Luke is unlucky in that he gets his studs caught and twists, which causes the injury, but on the night I think the referee made the right decision.”

Hector Moreno has apologised for the tackle on Luke Shaw

The Uefa man of the match award is selected by the Uefa reporting team, who cover the game for the organisation’s website. Typically, that reporting team consists of local freelance journalists hired by Uefa to write reports, which ordinarily tend towards the uncontroversial. That decision is reported at the end of the game and stands as the official man of the match, separate to those awarded by television networks.

For Shaw himself it marks 16 tumultuous months in his young career in which he has been selected for the England 2014 World Cup squad, joined United from Southampton for £31m and fallen foul of Louis van Gaal in his first season at Old Trafford. As a young player who was considered to be a late developer when it came to the mentality required at the elite level, Shaw could scarcely have come up against a bigger challenge so soon after making the grade at United.

While injuries like the one he sustained against PSV come with no guarantees as to future fitness, the level of care that is standard now at Premier League clubs will give him great cause for hope.

Luke Shaw is carried off the pitch

His surgery in Eindhoven on Tuesday night, announced yesterday morning by Manchester United, is the start of a long and demanding rehabilitation process, but it is also the end of that first stage of emergency care that is so critical in serious injuries.

David Busst, that classic English football injury horror story, contracted MRSA during one of the 26 operations he endured after his double compound fracture at Old Trafford in 1996.

Busst might have recovered, were it not for the infection that damaged tissue and muscle. Even so, football clubs have come a lot further than when doctors tended to be GPs with a long-standing connection to the club. What a player in Shaw’s situation requires, and now has, is a specialist in trauma with the experience to make quick decisions such as whether the leg needs immobilising or, when nerves are compromised, mobilisation.

Shaw was attended to by club doctor Steve McNally and physiotherapist Neil Hough. In the past, medical teams at clubs were primarily run by the club’s physio, but the level of care has moved on and is enshrined in Premier League regulations.

Ambulances are standard at Champions League games, as they are for training sessions the day before. Away from their home country, Champions League clubs are given their nearest specialist hospital before the game as a matter of course. Shaw was visited in hospital, the St Anna Ziekenhuis, by United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, yesterday morning.