"It was a brilliant challenge" - Roy Keane defends Moreno following Luke Shaw leg break
Roy Keane was not shy in dishing out big hits when he was a player and now he has launched a staunch defence of Hector Moreno, whose challenge on Luke Shaw last Tuesday led to a double leg break for the Manchester United defender.
While stressing that it was a fair tackle, Moreno was quick to apologise to Shaw after the Champio0ns League clash, saying he felt "really sorry. I just feel really bad because I was involved in the accident".
United were not happy with Moreno subsequently picking up the man of the match award but former Red Keane had a different opinion.
"I thought it was a brilliant challenge," said the Corkman.
"I love the physical side of the game. You can always tell by player reactions and none of the United lads at the time, and players are best judges because they are nearest the tackle, didn't react over the top thinking it was a bad challenge.
"And when players are travelling that speed, defending like that, injuries are going to happen. I'm surprised there are not more like it. It was more of an accident at the end of with his trailing foot."
World Cup final referee Howard Webb says Italian official Nicola Rizzoli was right to take no action against Moreno.
Moreno, who was not cautioned or dismissed by Rizzoli for the challenge, ended the 2-1 Champions League victory against United having been nominated as man of the match by UEFA - a decision which left United staff "stunned and dismayed" by the apparent insensitivity of the award, voted by UEFA's match reporting team.
United boss Louis van Gaal insisted that Moreno's challenge, dismissed as an "accident" by the PSV player, merited both a red card for the Mexican defender and a penalty.
But while Graham Poll, the former Premier League official, said Rizzoli should have taken action following the "excessive force" of Moreno's challenge, Webb insisted that Rizzoli made the right call.
"Luke Shaw's injury was awful and I wish him a speedy recovery," said Webb, who works as a pundit for BT Sport.
"But the referee made the right decision. 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 I think the referee made the right decision."
Having been taken to hospital in Eindhoven while the game was still being contested, Shaw underwent surgery in the early hours of yesterday to repair the fracture of his right tibia and fibula.
Neil Hough, United's head physiotherapist, did not report back to the team's hotel until 1am, with club secretary John Alexander returning with Shaw's suit and bag while the 20-year-old's parents remained by his bedside in hospital.
With Shaw avoiding the more problematic compound fracture, it is hoped the clean break will heal within six months, raising the outside prospect of the player returning to action this season and potentially representing England at Euro 2016.
Shaw will remain in Eindhoven until the weekend before flying back to Manchester to begin his rehabilitation.
A United spokesman said: "Luke will remain in hospital in Eindhoven to continue his early recovery. Manchester United are grateful for the excellent care he is receiving."
Moreno, who sustained a broken leg while playing for Mexico against Van Gaal's Holland at last year's World Cup, insisted that his part in Shaw's injury was unintentional, with the player also apologising for the consequences of his challenge.
"I don't know what happened, I don't remember," Moreno said. "I just feel really bad because I was involved in the accident. I feel really sorry."
When asked whether his challenge was a foul, one which merited action by referee Rizzoli, Moreno said: "I think not. I think I played the ball, but in this kind of situation I don't care if it was a foul, I feel bad for him, for his family." (© Daily Telegraph, London)