Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stated that he will not put any more pressure on goalkeeper David De Gea as he will not be talking about his performance against Chelsea which saw the London club score twice with goals that the Spanish goalkeeper should have saved quite easily. Solskjaer has leapt in to defend the goalkeeper in the past but bluntly refused to discuss the topic in his press conference ahead of the penultimate Premier League match of the season.
United will take on West Ham United at the Theatre of Dreams on Wednesday evening with a view on putting his side in the top three of the league with a victory over David Moyes’ side. Solskjaer will be protective of his goalkeeper and will know that his mistakes against Chelsea will be the main talking point ahead of the next match, which will either result in the player being dropped from the team or being backed by the manager and his teammates, keeping his place in the team. The Sun quoted Solskjaer as saying:
“This is not going to become a David De Gea press conference. We’re just going to stick together.
“David’s mentally strong enough to know his job is to perform in training the next day and be ready for the games.
“We’re not going to talk about individuals. No one here wants to feel we are putting more pressure on them.”
Former teammate of De Gea, Rio Ferdinand has slammed the goalkeeper for his current form stating that he was not in a position to be defended. Granted, Ferdinand played in the same team as De Gea for a number of years so will have knowledge of how the player is when he has made a mistake. There is no hiding place for the player and he will know that too. Ferdinand, speaking to BT Sport about the goalkeeper and reported by The Mirror, said:
“When people make mistakes, they’re open to criticism. That’s just natural, that is just how football is,
“David De Gea is no exception. He’s made mistakes, glaring mistakes in some big games, notably the game against Chelsea in the semi-final at Wembley.
“Yes, he should be doing better. I have played with David, he’s his own biggest critic.
“He’ll be sitting at home mulling over these, going through the situations and making sure that he tries to get rid of these mistakes that he is committing at the moment.”
Another former United player, Paul Ince has given advice to Solskjaer about how to deal with the goalkeeper who is complacent. It seems funny that Ince is giving others advice on how to manage players, when in actual fact, his management history has been poor at best. Ince managed Macclesfield Town, MK Dons (twice), Blackburn Rovers, Notts County and Blackpool and did nothing but fail at each club. It is strange that this guy, who shows embitterment to United, feels he’s qualified to even have an opinion. Anyway, speaking to Paddy Power via The Mirror, Ince said:
“David [De Gea] knows he should have saved the second goal, but that’s done now. I can’t speak for David’s confidence, but he’s mentally very strong. He knows he should save that one 100 times out of 100, but that’s football for you.
“Any mistake you make, as a goalkeeper, will always be magnified. We know that, but what we’re seeing from David de Gea at the minute are basic, schoolboy errors. They are errors that someone on his wage and at his level simply should not be making – and not for the first time, too.
“If you go and look at the season, there’s several absolutely horrendous mistakes that just shouldn’t be happening. When you make mistakes like that, you have to come out in the next couple of games and stand up and be counted – to nullify that criticism – but it seems like he isn’t capable of doing that at the moment.
“You need to prove you’re the No.1 goalkeeper. He made a couple of decent saves against Chelsea, but the fact is, in big games you expect that. In those big games, the best keepers in the world aren’t making mistakes to begin with.
“My feeling is that De Gea doesn’t have enough, or any, competition. He is totally complacent. Sergio Romero only plays once in a blue moon, but Dean Henderson is waiting in the wings, and the manager needs to create a bit of a challenge and competition at the club.
“Right now, De Gea knows there’s no challenger to him, that he will be the first name on the team sheet, and he’s playing like someone who knows that, too. As a player, if you think you’re going to play every game, it leads to complacency.”
Paul Scholes, another former teammate of De Gea has done what you would expect from him and back the player. Scholes played alongside the Spanish goalkeeper for the final years of his career at the club, even coming out of retirement to play some more football. De Gea will be happy to see some players in his corner, past and present. It will mean a lot to him. The mistakes happened and there is no taking them away. Ot is now embellished in the club’s history. Reported by The Mirror, the United legend said:
“Yep, he’s having a bad time. But without him United wouldn’t have finished in the top 10 the last 6 years…he’ll be back!”
Finally, Solskjaer has refused to confirm whether the player, 29, will start against West Ham in the final Premier League match of the season at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. It would not surprise me to see De Gea starting against the Hammers but it would be a gamble that would bring criticism to the doorstep of Solskjaer if it did not pay off. Just the same would be if the player was dropped for Sergio Romero and that did not pay off, so either way you look at it, Solskjaer will not be able to win with the media. Reported by the Manchester Evening News, the United manager said:
“No, because I don’t want to talk about it. We stick together as a group. Of course we’re going to stick together as a group and as I said he’s proven before he’s mentally strong. We’ll stay together and we’ll see the team on Wednesday night.
“You have to [make big calls]. Every position is a big one here so you’ve got to do what is right for the team and the club. We’ll do that on Wednesday, we’ll do that on Sunday and then when the season’s finished we’ll make more decisions.
“Everything we talk about is between ourselves. We keep that relationship open and every player can trust me to keep that confidential.”
United have it all to play for on Wednesday evening. With Leicester City being beaten by Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday and the fact that the two teams have the same amount of points and the goal difference is the same, although Leicester have scored 67 goals to United’s 63, it gives United the opportunity to get one over Brendan Rodger’s side before Sunday’s showdown ta the King Power Stadium. With a victory over the Hammers, United could go third in the league with Chelsea facing Liverpool, at Anfield. This is Solskjaer and United’s chance to get one over both teams ahead of them.
Written by John Walker