Luke Shaw backs referee’s decision that led to Fulham meltdown

Luke Shaw has praised the referee’s decision to send off Willian for his handball in Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Fulham at Old Trafford.

Fulham deserved their lead at 1-0 in the quarter-final of the FA Cup on Sunday, but they tripped over their laces in the 70th minute when Willian used his hand close to the line to deny Jadon Sancho’s shot at goal.

Willian was sent for an early shower as a result of his intervention, but the meltdown only got worse as Aleksandar Mitrovic and manager Marco Silva were dismissed by referee Chris Kavanagh for their protests against the decision. It all got a bit chaotic but this gave United a chance to get back into the game.

In the minutes that followed, United scored two quick-fire goals against 9-man Fulham, and Bruno Fernandes completed a brace before the end.

After the match, United left-back Luke Shaw was asked about the chaotic scenes and he admitted that Fulham imploded.

“I didn’t see all of it. Obviously I saw that moment and that action and to me straight away, I knew it was handball, I think the way he blocked it, the ball was going in and it doesn’t matter where his hands are,” Shaw told MUTV, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.

“It has hit his arms and he’s stopped it. The referee made a good decision with that one and I’m not sure what happened with the other [Mitrovic]. I think maybe a bit of frustration after they’d be so good, maybe a bit of anger that can only take a second.

“I think that happened and when they had two men sent off, it’s a big mountain to climb and thankfully we saw the game out.”

In hindsight, Willian will be thinking he should have let the ball in — if it was destined to hit the back of the net – instead of using his hand and getting sent off.

That way, it would have been 1-1 with 11 Fulham players on the pitch trying to hold on. They collapsed in a matter of minutes with just 9 players out there.

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