Luke Shaw has claimed that referee Stuart Atwell chose not to give Manchester United a penalty following a handball from Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi because he feared the backlash.
The two sides played out a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday but there was a moment of controversy in the first half when Hudson-Odoi appeared to clearly touch the ball with his hand inside his own box, with referee Atwell called over to the pitch-side monitor by VAR.
Despite the recommendation being a penalty, Atwell decided against the advice and Shaw claims the official told United skipper Harry Maguire it would ‘cause too much talk’ afterwards if he gave it.
‘At the time I saw a handball but I didn’t know if it was Mason [Greenwood] or Callum,’ Shaw told Sky Sports after the match.
‘I just carried on, I didn’t even know that there was a potential check. I don’t know why they’ve stopped it if it’s not a penalty. If it’s not going to be a penalty I don’t think they needed to stop.
‘The referee even said to H [Harry Maguire], I heard him say: “If I say it’s a pen then it’s going to cause a lot of talk about it after.” So I don’t know what happened there.
‘H said they got told it was a pen, he [the referee] got told it was a pen by VAR. So I’m not sure what’s gone on.
‘I don’t understand why he’s stopped, if he’s stopped you would think he’s going to give a pen because we had the ball, we were attacking.
‘So it’s confusing with this VAR because… look, if it’s not going to be a pen they might as well just carry on the game and not stop the flow of the game. But I’m not going to moan about it because like I said, I don’t think either team did enough to win.’
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backed up Shaw’s claims about the referee and was adamant his side had been denied a stonewall penalty.
Asked if there was any doubt it was a penalty, Solskjaer said: ‘No. Not whatsoever. Not at all. Especially when they stop it and he walks across so he can watch it.
‘From here you can see it’s a handball but you think it’s our player that does it, and they’re [Chelsea’s players] shouting for handball for our player. And when you look at it on the video, it’s taken two points away from us.’
Asked what the referee told Maguire, Solskjaer continued: ‘I can’t say because that’s not going to be good for him.’
When Shaw’s comments were relayed to him, the United boss responded: ‘Exactly – but I didn’t say it. I don’t want to cause controversy. But it’s not right is it.’
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