Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho explains why he substituted Luke Shaw in Brighton win

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Jose Mourinho claimed he substituted Luke Shaw at half-time of Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Brighton and Hove Albion because the left back was not aggressive enough and not capable of “good positionings” defensively.

Shaw started his first game in a month on Saturday night at Old Trafford but was hooked after just 45 minutes, with first-choice Ashley Young brought on in his place.

Despite Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic scoring to book United’s place in next month’s semi finals at Wembley, Mourinho was not pleased with his team’s performance and accused his players of lacking “personality, class and desire” after the final whistle.

Shaw was one player criticised by Mourinho, who complained that his players had failed to perform attacking drills practised in the past few days since United’s surprise Champions League exit to Sevilla.

“It is my decision,” he said, when asked why he had chosen to replace Shaw. “My reason behind it is that we work on the pitch certain kinds of movements where it was really important for the two full backs to be aggressive and to be always in front, to create space for Matic and for Scott [McTominay] to play in front of the two central defenders. 

“I didn’t have that with Luke and Antonio Valencia, with both of them. I didn’t change both because it was too aggressive to do it and then I only have one more change in 90 minutes. 

“To play 45 minutes with only one more substitution to do, I think it was too much aggressive.”

The United manager added: “To try to improve our offensive football and be more aggressive I had to change one of them and I decided Luke, because at least Antonio defensively was capable of good positionings, like in one of their more dangerous movements in the second half when [Brighton striker Jurgen] Locadia made a diagonal run. 

“Luke, in the first half, every time they went in this corridor, the cross was coming, the situation was coming so I was not happy with the performance.”

Mourinho claimed he could not “see many left-backs better” than Shaw after an injury to Young meant the 22-year-old enjoyed an extended spell in the side at the turn of the year.

Young regained his place once fully fit, however, and Mourinho’s assessment of Shaw’s latest performance suggested that he remains some way off establishing himself as United’s first-choice left back.

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