Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera insists he did not handle the ball before assisting Marcus Rashford’s opening goal in Sunday’s 2-0 triumph over Chelsea.
Herrera’s through ball from deep in midfield led Rashford behind the Chelsea defence before the 19-year-old forward coolly slotted past backup keeper Asmir Begovic in the seventh minute. However, the ball appeared to hit the Spain international’s arm before he won possession from Nemanja Matic.
Chelsea were upset with the referee’s decision to not call a handball on the play, but Herrera defended the validity of his actions after the match.
“I didn’t want to touch the ball with the hand,” Herrera told Sky Sports.
“I was running with my arms next to my body. I don’t know if the ball touched my hand or not, but it was not my intention.
“In football, I think if you don’t have the intention to touch the ball and you have your arms in a natural position, it is not handball.”
Herrera later scored United’s second goal, sealing the victory at Old Trafford.
He hailed his side’s performance, adding: “It was almost perfect.”
“You always have some things to improve, but defensively it was perfect,” Herrera said. “They are top of the table and they didn’t create any chances.
“We hurt them on the counterattack; we played football, controlled the game and moved the ball really well, so we can be very happy.”