Rafa Benitez says Jonjo Shelvey’s refusal to shake his hand was NOT a show of petulance.
Shelvey was substitute late in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against his former club Swansea City.
Benitez offered his hand, but the midfielder didn’t take it.
Asked if it was a show of petulance, United’s manager said: “No. When players leave the pitch, especially when the team is losing or drawing, they want to stay there and make a contribution or make the difference, so you have to understand that.”
Shelvey was replaced by Mikel Merino with eight minutes left on the clock.
The England international later apologised to Benitez, who added: “When you’re not winning a game, like this one, so important, any player has to be disappointed if they do not continue playing.
“But we have to make the substitutions, and that’s it. I didn’t have any problems with what he did.”
Shelvey, signed from Swansea two years ago for £12million, has been linked with a move to West Ham United in this month’s transfer window.
Benitez, however, is adamant that the 25-year-old will not be allowed to leave St James’s Park.
West Ham have also been credited with an interested in defender Chancel Mbmeba.
Benitez said: “At the moment, apart from (Jamie) Sterry and (Jack) Colback, the others are players that maybe we will need.”