EPL

De Gea demands Man Utd show progress as he dreads another player of the season award

By Sports Desk July 22, 2022

David de Gea has taken pride in winning individual trophies at Manchester United but hopes he never collects another personal accolade because it will mean the Red Devils have failed again.

Jose Mourinho became increasingly frustrated during his time at Old Trafford as goalkeeper De Gea won the Player of the Year award for United, amounting to failure from his outfield stars in the Portuguese's eyes.

The Spain international may have felt hard done by to not win another of those awards last season, with Cristiano Ronaldo pipping him to the honour after scoring 24 goals across all competitions.

De Gea made 128 saves in the 2021-22 Premier League, the third most in the English top flight, as United limped to a sixth-place finish and their lowest points tally in the competition's history.

New manager Erik ten Hag has made a promising start to his tenure with United, though, with the Red Devils winning three pre-season friendlies, including a 4-0 thrashing of Liverpool in Bangkok. They face Aston Villa on Saturday as the season build-up continues.

De Gea has been a vocal critic during United's downfall in recent years, and has insisted he no longer wants to win individual awards as that would represent more failure.

"It's good for me individually, of course, I love to win trophies, but I totally agree with what [Mourinho] said," said De Gea, who has won the Player of the Year award at United on four occasions.

"It must be a striker, a midfielder [who wins that award], that's what needs to happen, but this season it's going to be another player or striker, for sure."

Ten Hag has begun his sizeable rebuilding task with the Premier League side by bringing in Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen, while striking a deal for Lisandro Martinez.

Jadon Sancho, Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes have spoken approvingly of Ten Hag, and De Gea hopes the Dutchman will help United respond to an abject campaign last season.

"For me, for everyone, it was a very tough season, embarrassing sometimes," De Gea said, quoted in several British newspapers. "Some games were a mess, a disaster.

"So we should learn from last season that cannot happen again because it was tough, it was painful to be there – not capable to win games, losing games 4-0 or 5-0. It was unacceptable.

"Sometimes you have to feel pain to go up and keep going."

A notable feature of United's early pre-season games has been Ten Hag's insistence for his side to build from the back and play possession-based football.

For this to be successful, as seen with Ederson at Manchester City, De Gea as a goalkeeper must be confident with the ball at his feet, and the 31-year-old backs his own abilities.

"I think I showed it already," he said. "If you watch my games with the national team or when we played with Sir Alex Ferguson at the beginning, you could see it.

"I don't need to show anyone. I've been playing for many years. I will try my best. I'm going to stay quiet, calm and try to show that to the team and play out from the back.

"Obviously with different managers you have to adapt to the way they want you to play, but I used to play like this in the national team for many years so I'm comfortable with it."

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