Manchester United vs Chelsea: Luke Shaw claims Chelsea can thank 'world class' Thibaut Courtois for escaping with a draw

England left-back believes United had the better of the game and could have emerged with three points had Courtois not been in goal

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The Independent Online

Luke Shaw thinks Thibaut Courtois got Chelsea out of jail with his impressive performance at Manchester United on Sunday.

United needed an injury-time goal from Robin van Persie to take a point from the gripping 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, but they had numerous chances to build a good lead in the first half.

Courtois denied Van Persie with impressive saves either side of the break and he also thwarted Angel di Maria.

The Belgian, who has spent the last three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, surprisingly dislodged Petr Cech from the number one spot upon his return to London this summer and after Sunday's performance, Shaw thinks it is easy to see why.

 

"We've seen what Courtois has done in the past six months, not just for Chelsea but before that (with Atletico) so we know what his qualities are and he's proved to be a great buy for them," the United left-back said.

"We had a lot of chances and, with him in goal, he helped them a lot. Robin had a few and I think it might have been Adnan (Januzaj) who had a shot as well.

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"There were those chances but he's a world-class goalie in their goal and he helped them a lot."

Courtois was impressed by United's attacking play and one player in particular caught his eye - Belgium team-mate Marouane Fellaini.

Fellaini caused the Chelsea defence problems with his height throughout and he could have bagged a couple of goals had he taken his chances.

The midfielder came in for criticism last season for a number of lacklustre displays following his £27.5million move from Everton.

The fact that he did not score his first United goal until last Monday's draw at West Brom shows just how much of a flop his debut year at Old Trafford was.

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Courtois makes a save during the 1-1 draw between Chelsea and Manchester United

Courtois understands why United fans got on Fellaini's back, but he has backed the former Everton man to win them over.

"It's normal for some fans to act that way when someone costs a lot of money and is not playing well," the Chelsea goalkeeper said.

"It's easy to criticise them. That happens not just with him but other players.

"Obviously last season was not the easiest. The team was not doing very well and he's not the kind of player to change the dynamic of the team, but he is an important player - he is very strong in the air when you play long balls to him.

"In the game against West Brom, he made an important goal for United and was very dangerous against us too.

"He is a good player and to have him with me in the Belgium team is very good."

Like Fellaini, Shaw also found it difficult to make the step up when he signed for United earlier this summer.

The England left-back turned up to pre-season training out of shape and then suffered a hamstring injury to cause him further angst.

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Luke Shaw challenges Didier Drobga

The 19-year-old put in perhaps his best performance in a United shirt on Sunday though and he hopes to continue his improvement in the coming weeks.

"I am settled in now, definitely," the former Southampton defender said.

"It's always hard at the start but I felt really good on Sunday. I felt fit and strong so hopefully now I can get a run of games and keep improving and keep getting my fitness up."

For United the tough fixtures keep on coming, with a visit to Manchester City next up on Sunday.

The good news for the Red Devils is that Radamel Falcao, who missed the Chelsea game through injury, may return for the derby.

"Falcao took a kick in training on Thursday and couldn't play because of that," manager Louis van Gaal told MUTV.

"We'll have to wait and see, but I don't think the injury is too bad, Sunday's match came too soon for him."

PA

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