EPL

Solskjaer always had faith in De Gea as Man Utd boss curbs title talk

By Sports Desk September 19, 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lauded David de Gea after his penalty-saving heroics in Manchester United's victory over West Ham, while downplaying talk of the Premier League title.

United goalkeeper De Gea saved his first penalty in 41 attempts to help the Red Devils secure a dramatic 2-1 win at West Ham. 

Jesse Lingard curled in a stunning 89th-minute strike after United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo had earlier cancelled out Said Benrahma's deflected opener in London, where De Gea emerged the hero.

De Gea saved Mark Noble's 95th-minute penalty – the Spain international ending a drought dating back to April 2016 without saving a spot-kick.

United's De Gea has now saved three and conceded 28 of the penalties he has faced in the Premier League; he had failed to keep out 21 in a row in the competition before denying substitute Noble. 

De Gea has found himself in the spotlight amid doubts over his future due to his form at Old Trafford, where Dean Henderson's arrival last season sparked speculation, but Solskjaer hailed the 30-year-old veteran.

"I believe in David and I've seen him [make a penalty save]," Solskjaer told reporters. "He saved against Crystal Palace last season, and his foot was a little inch off the line. 

"I've seen Mark Noble score so many penalties, you did feel down and out and expected to come home with one point but luckily David has continued his good form."

United have now gone 29 away Premier League matches without defeat, Lingard claiming their latest comeback victory.

Solskjaer's United are unbeaten in their last 14 away games in the Premier League when conceding first (W10 D4), including a 3-1 win in this fixture last season.

United – who have not won the Premier League since 2012-13 – are level with Chelsea and Liverpool atop the table through five matches.

"We're five games into the season, and I was probably down and out and lost my job yesterday [Saturday, after the Champions League loss to Young Boys during the week]," said Solskjaer. "So, that's just the way it is at Man United. 

"We've got to keep our feet grounded, dig out points like we did today. I thought they deserved the three points and you know it's a hard place to come and get these points.

"Hopefully we can, can make a difference, let's see when we get towards April and May."

Related items

  • Now or never for Benzema with Ballon d'Or, but he has Mbappe's backing Now or never for Benzema with Ballon d'Or, but he has Mbappe's backing

    Kylian Mbappe suggests Karim Benzema would have to "stop thinking about the Ballon d'Or forever" if he did not win the top individual award this year.

    Benzema is the favourite among the 30 Ballon d'Or nominees announced by France Football on Friday.

    The announcement marked the end of an era, with last year's winner Lionel Messi absent from the shortlist for the first time since 2005.

    Mbappe is at the forefront of the next generation of contenders, and he told France Football he would put himself on the 2022 podium alongside Benzema and Sadio Mane.

    But the forward's France team-mate Benzema is clearly a deserving winner, having inspired Real Madrid to LaLiga and Champions League glory.

    Indeed, Mbappe feels Benzema will never take home the Ballon d'Or if this is not his year.

    "Of course. He is 34 years old, has just made the season of his life, wins another Champions League by often being decisive," the Paris Saint-Germain striker told France Football.

    "Instead of Karim, if I don't win there [in that position], I stop thinking about the Ballon d'Or forever."

    It has been a fine week for Benzema, who surpassed Raul as Madrid's outright second-highest goalscorer in a midweek Super Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt, while he was shortlisted for the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award ahead of his Ballon d'Or nomination.

    But prior to the match in Helsinki, Benzema said: "I'm not like that in terms of whether I'm the best or not. I always give my all for this club, the best club in the world.

    "I have to give more and more every year. It's true I had a very good season, but other people can comment on if I'm the best in the world. I'm focused on helping my team in matches, that's all I can say.

    "I'm not thinking about [the Ballon d'Or]; there's trophies to win every year, that's very important. I always stress the importance of success for the team that leads to individual success."

    After Madrid's victory, Los Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti said there was "no doubt" that Benzema was the world's best player.

  • Barcelona midfielder Nico completes Valencia loan move Barcelona midfielder Nico completes Valencia loan move

    Barcelona midfielder Nico Gonzalez has completed a season-long loan move to LaLiga rivals Valencia.

    The 20-year-old broke into Barca's first team last season, scoring two goals and providing as many assists in 37 appearances.

    With Franck Kessie among the Blaugrana's new signings and Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva reportedly a target, Nico informed Xavi he wanted to move on in order to be given more playing time.

    Valencia on Saturday confirmed Nico will spend the 2022-23 campaign at the Mestalla Stadium.

    Barca's head coach Xavi on Friday stated that he had mixed feelings over Nico's temporary switch.

    He said: "[Nico] came to me three weeks ago. I insisted that he continue because he would have minutes. I like Nico.

    "But a few days ago he came back and told me that there was a team where he would play. He has been brave and is going to Valencia.

    "I hope he comes back more mature because it must be important for the future of Barca. For the midfield we have [Sergio] Busquets, [Miralem] Pjanic, Kessie, Frenkie [de Jong], Sergi Roberto, and even [Andreas] Christensen, who can play there."

    Valencia start their season at home to newly promoted Girona on Sunday, while Barca face Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

  • De Ligt explains Juventus criticism, wants 'to get my Ajax game back' De Ligt explains Juventus criticism, wants 'to get my Ajax game back'

    Matthijs de Ligt insists he did not "attack" Juventus when pointing out the club had underperformed, although he feels he will be better suited to playing for Bayern Munich.

    De Ligt left Juve for Bayern ahead of the 2022-23 season, having widely been seen as failing to fulfil his potential in three years in Turin.

    The Netherlands centre-back was outstanding in Ajax's run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals, earning a move to Juve, where he faced a battle for his place.

    De Ligt started fewer than 30 Serie A matches in each of his three seasons with the Bianconeri.

    There was some backlash then when De Ligt, discussing the possibility of a transfer in June, criticised Juve's back-to-back fourth-placed finishes.

    Speaking to De Telegraaf on Saturday, De Ligt explained: "In an interview with NOS in June, I said that – as the club itself thinks – to be fourth tw‪ice in a row with Juventus is not good enough.

    "That was not an attack on Juventus. Not at all, because I will always have the utmost respect for this club.

    "For me, it was just a fact that no one could be satisfied, that the bar had to be raised, including for me. Maybe it came across incorrectly."

    De Ligt added he would "never forget" the help he received from his Juve team-mates in his "development as a footballer and as a person".

    However, he likened the style of play in Serie A to chess, saying it is "much more tactical".

    Now, De Ligt believes both he and Louis van Gaal's Netherlands team can benefit from his move to Bayern, where the approach is more in line with that he learned at Ajax.

    "I am very happy that I was able to experience that [at Juve], that I was able to play that way, because I have learned a lot," he said.

    "The reason for going to Juventus was also to become a better defender, even though there were differences with the Dutch national team.

    "At Juventus, I often had to stay in the position, while at certain times I was required to go [forward] with the Oranje.

    "At Bayern, I want to get my Ajax game back again.

    "[Bayern coach Julian] Nagelsmann's playing style is much closer to what Louis van Gaal asks of his defenders: defending high, putting high pressure, connecting well and playing forward a lot.

    "I think it's a move that can be good for the Dutch national team and my chances, but I did discuss the transfer with [Van Gaal]. He said he had a great time here."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.