David de Gea is a ‘top goalkeeper’, insists Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he backs under-fire Manchester United No 1 to handle criticism ahead of Manchester City showdown
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he still has faith in David de Gea and believes he remains one of the world’s best goalkeepers.
The Manchester United manager looks set to keep faith with De Gea for Saturday’s derby with Manchester City at Old Trafford despite his error in the midweek Champions League defeat at RB Leipzig.
And Solskjaer stressed on Friday that the Spaniard deserves his place on the shortlist for the World Goalkeeper of the Year, announced this week.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed David de Gea (pictured) to overcome criticism from others
De Gea came under-fire for his part in RB Leipzig’s third goal as they beat Manchester United
He said: ‘I think David is a top goalkeeper and rightly so he is on lists of the best. For me he has handled criticism before and handled setbacks before.
‘He is a man that we really rely on. Hopefully he is not affected by the criticism and I don’t think he will be. Every goal that a goalkeeper ever concedes, you are disappointed with.’
Solskjaer heads in to Saturday’s game a point ahead of City in the Premier League but still under pressure. Speaking at lunchtime on Friday he revealed that forward Anthony Martial will be fit for the game but that Edinson Cavani remains a doubt.
Despite United’s lack of consistency across all competitions, Solskjaer believes his team are improving.
He said: ‘Yes, I feel we’re getting better and better and looking more like a Manchester United that I want with fast attackers, with a dynamic.
The Red Devils manager says the much-maligned Spaniard remains a ‘top goalkeeper’
‘We’ve got good players and individual quality that can create magic out of nothing. That’s always been at Manchester United but we can see more and more of the penetration and of the consistency that everyone says we don’t have.
‘We have won our last four in the league which has become a good run and hopefully we can carry that on.
‘This season has been a step up from last season’s Europa League. Those six games in the Champions League have been great from that respect. We have learned that small mistakes get punished.
‘We were very close to going through from a very good group and that shows a team that has moved forward from drawing in the Carabao Cup against Colchester and barely beating Rochdale. We struggled to to beat teams like Astana and Partizan. So we have taken steps.
Anthony Martial is back fit for the Manchester derby after suffering an injury against West Ham
‘We still have a little bit of a way to go but we still have a way to go to compete and win the Champions League.
‘Every player is the same. They should be disappointed when they lose. They should want to bounce back and we have shown this season we handle setbacks well both during games and before the next game.
‘We have to analyse what has gone wrong. You never have a lot of time for coaching between games. But it’s important not to press the panic button every time because you know in football you cannot win every game.
‘There are some games that you lose that will stick and hurt more than others and have more consequences than others. We are facing the reality of life without the Champions League this season so we have to make sure we move on and get back in to the Champions League. We do that by improving.’