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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 21 March, 2018

Mourinho hails 'world class' De Gea as he levels Premier League record

The Spaniard was in imperious form at the Emirates this evening.

De Gea celebrates United's win.
De Gea celebrates United's win.
Image: Tim Goode

DAVID DE GEA levelled a Premier League record by making 14 saves as Manchester United won 3-1 at Arsenal this evening.

The Spain international was in inspirational form as a Jesse Lingard brace saw United narrow the gap to five points behind league leaders and rivals Manchester City ahead of next weekend’s derby at Old Trafford.

De Gea reacted superbly to stop Romelu Lukaku turning into his own goal in stoppage time at the end of the first half, but even more brilliance was to come after the interval with a sensational double save.

United’s goalkeeper got down sharply to his right to keep out an Alexandre Lacazette snapshot and immediately leapt up and used his right boot to block the rebound from Alexis Sanchez, who could not believe he had failed to score.

The 14 saves made by de Gea equals the record jointly held by Tim Krul, set in a game for Newcastle United against Tottenham in November 2013, and Vito Mannone — who was playing for Sunderland against Chelsea in April 2014 — since Opta began collecting data in the 2003-04 Premier League season.

“I told him after the match, what I saw today was the best from a goalkeeper in the world,” Jose Mourinho told BT Sport after the game.

“You need the keeper to be there for you when the team needs,” the Portuguese boss added. “All the effort from the players was magnificent.”

As for Paul Pogba’s dismissal, which will rule him out of the Manchester derby, Mourinho said Arsenal had been fortunate not to go a man down as well following a challenge by Laurent Koscielny on Romelu Lukaku.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I leave for you the Lukaku situation with Koscielny, I leave for you the Arsenal players on the grass. The grass is absolutely beautiful — I think there is a desire to go onto the grass.”

Arsenal v Manchester United - Premier League - Emirates Stadium Source: Tim Goode

There was no hiding former Chelsea manager Mourinho’s joy, however, at an impressive all-round United display.

“I loved the way my team played and fought,” he said. “Arsenal played in some periods amazing attacking football — creating difficulties for us.

“But I have to say that my players deserve all the great words. I don’t know so many in English but amazing, phenomenal, fantastic. They deserved three points.”

For Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who has had an often fractious relationship with Mourinho, there was pride in the way his side recovered from a horror start but ultimately a sense of frustration at their failure to take anything out of the game.

“I think we didn’t start well at all at the back and we are guilty of that,” Wenger told the BBC.

“Despite being 2-0 down we should have come back — we had enough chances. We produced excellent quality, but were not decisive enough,” the veteran French boss added.

“It was a mystery yes (not scoring more goals), but David de Gea was man-of-the-match by a clear mile.

“We played well but there is nothing more frustrating when you have that quality of performance and nothing to show for it at the end.

“The attitude was impeccable until the end. But you cannot make the mistakes we made at the beginning.”

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