LONDON • Louis van Gaal refused to blame Sergio Romero for Manchester United's defeat by Swansea City, despite the goalkeeper making a mistake for Bafetimbi Gomis' winning goal on Sunday.
The United manager also suggested that wantaway goalkeeper David de Gea's future was in the hands of chief executive Ed Woodward, as the club brace themselves for a final move from Real Madrid before the Spanish transfer window closed at midnight yesterday.
"We have to wait and see. I don't want to interfere," van Gaal said. "As a manager we have divided our tasks and the task is for Ed Woodward, not for me."
Romero looked nervous throughout against Swansea and his poor performance brought the de Gea saga firmly back into view, with the Spaniard once again absent from the matchday squad.
Van Gaal, however, rejected claims that the way de Gea's situation has been handled by the club has affected the United players and threw his support behind Romero, claiming that the 28-year-old's arrival on a free transfer this summer had helped to "settle the issue".
Few United supporters, however, will share that view after Swansea manager Garry Monk celebrated a third successive win over van Gaal.
If Romero's part in Swansea's equaliser, which was headed in by the outstanding Andre Ayew, was suspect, there was no question that the United goalkeeper ought to have done better when Gomis beat him at his near post five minutes later to seal the 2-1 victory.
Romero also instilled little confidence in the United defence at Swansea, with his distribution erratic at times.
"You can write everything you want," van Gaal said, when asked whether he was disappointed in Romero's display. "What I always say is that defending starts in front and not only in the last line. You can always analyse errors. But I don't think that is a good way.
"You have to see how the team is defending as a team and then I know what errors have been made. At the end, of course, the pressure on the last defender or goalkeeper is always higher. So I don't agree when you only say, or want to write, that the goalkeeper today was not so good. It is not like that."
It was all good for Swansea, though, following an impressive win that left them in fourth place.
The Welsh side remain unbeaten in the league, having opened with a draw at champions Chelsea.
"We're a good team," Monk said. "We're a force in this league and, when we're playing our best football, we can be unbelievable.
"Today you saw character and the technical side of it. You've seen in the games already this season we've performed unbelievably well and in different ways and shown every side of us. That's what a good club should be doing."
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS