Big Match

Solskjaer trusts De Gea

If anyone at Manchester United has earned the right to be forgiven for a few dodgy games, it is David de Gea, says his boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who sees the goalkeeper as the club's best player in the past six or seven years.
If anyone at Manchester United has earned the right to be forgiven for a few dodgy games, it is David de Gea, says his boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who sees the goalkeeper as the club's best player in the past six or seven years. PHOTO: REUTERS

United boss plays down goalkeeper's recent blunders; backs underperforming Pogba too

LONDON • David de Gea is going through a bad run but, if anyone at Manchester United has earned the right to be forgiven for a few dodgy games, then it is the Spanish goalkeeper - at least in the eyes of his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Solskjaer insisted, ahead of tomorrow's home game against Chelsea, that he will not be dropping the goalkeeper, who was culpable for both Manchester City goals in Wednesday's 2-0 Premier League defeat.

When asked if he might replace the No. 1 with Sergio Romero, he said: "No. Not at all. Because I trust David and he's for me the best player United have had for the last six or seven years. Going through tough patches is part of a footballer's career and David will be fine."

De Gea came under intense scrutiny in his first season after he moved from Atletico Madrid in 2011 as a 20-year-old, but he has since proved his quality, featuring in the PFA Team of the Year in five of the six seasons between 2012 and 2018.

He is yet to agree a new deal on terms that expire in summer next year. But Solskjaer does not believe this distraction, regardless of whether he stays or leaves, is the reason for the shaky displays of the 28-year-old, who also let a shot slip under him in the 3-0 loss at Barcelona in their Champions League quarter-final exit.

"That's something you have to deal with as a footballer," the Norwegian said. "It's a situation (that can be normal). David's coming in every single day and doing what he should be doing."

  •  82%

    SOLSKJAER’S WIN RATE FIRST 17 GAMES

  • 22%

    LAST NINE GAMES

Former United goalkeeper Gary Bailey, 60, who played for the club from 1978 to 1987, believes that No. 2 Romero should start tomorrow.

"De Gea has been an absolutely amazing 'keeper for United," he tweeted. "But perhaps it's time now to give him a rest and let him rediscover his mojo. We have a more than capable replacement in Argentinian international Sergio Romero."

Despite a seventh defeat in nine games in all competitions, Solskjaer has chosen to keep faith with his underperforming star players like de Gea, and Paul Pogba as well.

He believes that the France midfielder will still be at Old Trafford next season, although he admitted there can be no guarantees.

Pogba's future is unclear, with The Guardian understanding he will consider departing if United do not qualify for the Champions League, with Real Madrid his likely destination.

Solskjaer said: "You can't guarantee anything in football but, yes, I think Paul's going to be here. He's very determined to succeed at United."

He understands how Pogba can be a lightning rod for the Red Devils - singled out for praise when winning, criticised for being off-form when losing.

He added: "That's just the standards he sets because he's creating chances, scoring goals, doing loads of work. Everyone looks to Paul (when we lose), could you have done better? But he's done fantastic for us, he's a human being as well."

He also confirmed that midfielder Ander Herrera, reported to be leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, could be involved tomorrow following injury.

Sixth-placed United (64 points) are still in the running for a top-four spot, though they trail Chelsea, in fourth, by three points with three matches to go.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN, DPA


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2019, with the headline 'Solskjaer trusts De Gea'. Print Edition | Subscribe