De Gea may be losing focus

Manchester United forward Memphis Depay (in red) finds the going hard, surrounded by three Paris Saint-Germain players, in an International Champions Cup match in Chicago on Wednesday. In the game which the Red Devils lost 0-2, goalkeeper David de Ge
Manchester United forward Memphis Depay (in red) finds the going hard, surrounded by three Paris Saint-Germain players, in an International Champions Cup match in Chicago on Wednesday. In the game which the Red Devils lost 0-2, goalkeeper David de Gea was also found wanting in terms of concentration.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Van Gaal says uncertainty over transfer affected goalie's performance in PSG defeat

CHICAGO • Louis van Gaal has admitted the uncertainty over the future of David de Gea is far from ideal for Manchester United after the Spaniard was replaced at half-time of a 0-2 defeat by Paris Saint-Germain in Chicago.

The manager blamed de Gea for the French champions' opening goal, though he refused to go as far as saying the goalie was "poor" in the mix-up that caused Luke Shaw to turn the ball into their net.

Van Gaal's criticism and his view of de Gea's situation of flux suggested he believes the goalkeeper's state of mind is not ideal.

Real want to sign the 25-year-old but United's stance is that de Gea cannot depart unless defender Sergio Ramos moves to Old Trafford as part of any deal.

Van Gaal said: "We have a situation that is not favourable for David de Gea but neither for us and neither for the club (Real Madrid) that maybe he wants to go (to)."

HELPFUL TO NO ONE

"We have a situation that is not favourable for David de Gea but neither for us and neither for the club (Real Madrid) that maybe he wants to go (to)."

LOUIS VAN GAAL, the Manchester United manager

Of Shaw's own goal, the Dutchman said: "Poor I cannot say but he made a mistake. That's not poor.

"Everybody can make mistakes but when a goalkeeper makes a mistake, it is mostly a goal and that's the difference."

United fans have been accustomed to seeing de Gea bail his defenders out of trouble. But he was anything but the stopper who was named the club's Player of the Year for the past two seasons.

The tone was set as early as the second minute when a dreadful lapse in concentration resulted in de Gea passing the ball straight to Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the edge of the penalty area.

With just the goalkeeper to beat, the PSG striker should have scored.

However, he blazed his shot over the crossbar.

The Swede made no mistake in the 34th minute though, darting in between Phil Jones and Daley Blind in the penalty area to slot home Maxwell's cross.

NO SECOND CHANCE

"Everybody can make mistakes but when a goalkeeper makes a mistake, it is mostly a goal and that's the difference."

VAN GAAL

There was a decent save from de Gea in the 42nd minute to deny Lucas Moura but he was otherwise a shadow of the goalkeeper who had made 92 saves for the Red Devils last season.

Having been withdrawn at half-time, match fitness could also be an issue for United's No. 1.

With only a behind-closed-doors game to come before Tottenham Hotspur visit Old Trafford on Aug 8, the Spaniard looks desperately short of game time.

He has played just 108 minutes on this tour after missing the first two matches with an apparent back injury.

In fact, Sam Johnstone, who has never played a competitive first game for the Red Devils, has featured more than any other United goalkeeper in pre-season.

With Anders Lindegaard a virtual outcast, playing just 45 minutes to Johnstone's 208, Victor Valdes likely to be sold after refusing to play for the reserves last term, and Argentinian Sergio Romero a newcomer to the Premier League, van Gaal is woefully short of goalkeeper options going into the Spurs game.

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2015, with the headline 'De Gea may be losing focus'. Print Edition | Subscribe