Ten Hag salutes De Gea and Man Utd for bouncing back from 'bad day at the office'

By Sports Desk April 23, 2023

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag paid tribute to David de Gea for bouncing back from a difficult game against Sevilla in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final penalties win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

De Gea was generally seen as culpable for all three of Sevilla's goals in Thursday's 3-0 defeat, which sealed United's elimination from the Europa League at the quarter-final stage.

But three days later he made several excellent saves to deny Brighton, with those stops ultimately contributing to the game going to penalties.

While De Gea never got particularly close to any of Brighton's spot-kicks, United did progress to the final thanks to emerging 7-6 victors, with Solly March blazing over before Victor Lindelof sealed the Seagulls' fate.

United's collective performance may not have been spectacular, but the improvement from Thursday was significant – including De Gea.

"I think he had two brilliant saves and know that he's a world-class keeper," Ten Hag said. "Thursday, he had a really bad day at the office, and it hurt.

"Really bad [day in the] office I have seen, but it's always when you are the keeper and you make mistakes, often you get penalised.

"But it doesn't mean that we have to go under. And also, we as a team, we let him down [against Sevilla] and we didn't fight back on Thursday.

"[Criticism] was justified on Thursday but, today, the lads deserve compliments and credit because they bounced back once again, they showed character.

"What we have to learn and improve, which must be our next step, is that if we have a setback in a game, we fight back in that same game, that we keep calm and fight back in that same game.

"We have to deal with setbacks and we can do it better but in between games, and it's not the first time, we do it very well."

Manchester City await United in the final, making it the first ever Manchester derby in the FA Cup showpiece.

United will go into the contest as considerable outsiders, though Ten Hag pointed to their 2-1 win in January's derby as evidence they can defeat Pep Guardiola's treble-chasers.

"We have proof that we can beat them but then we have to play the perfect game," Ten Hag continued.

"That was the most perfect game we played this season [winning the derby in January] but we have to go again.

"We know that but, first of all, we have to focus on different games because we have to be in the top four, to get into the Champions League for next season."

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