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'Nobody can blame De Gea' - Solskjaer backs his out-of-form 'keeper

The Spanish stopper made another costly error against Chelsea today.

A dejected David De Gea leaves the Old Trafford pitch at half-time.
A dejected David De Gea leaves the Old Trafford pitch at half-time.

MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he was right to play David de Gea against Chelsea despite the goalkeeper’s poor form.

The Red Devils had taken a 1-0 lead through Juan Mata early on at Old Trafford, but De Gea spilled a simple shot from Antonio Rudiger two minutes before half-time to allow Marcos Alonso a close-range chance to equalise.

It was the latest in a series of errors from the Spanish number one, following blunders in the defeats to Barcelona and Manchester City.

But Solskjaer defended the 28-year-old after the match, telling Sky Sports: “David has been unbelievable for this club. We do support each other. There is no chance anyone can blame him for losing points.

“He knows he could have had that shot but that is football. David is one who likes to play games and I will have chats with him and he will respond in the right way.”

Asked if he should have dropped De Gea for the game, Solskjaer said to BBC Sport: “No. His reaction after City was good and I was confident in him.

“We did the same against City and started well but today we never found our rhythm again. We needed the tempo to be higher, with a higher intensity but we never managed to get that.”

The result leaves the Reds in sixth place – trailing fourth-placed Chelsea by three points and fifth-placed Arsenal by one – with two games still to play.

But Solskjaer is still hopeful of securing Champions League football for next term: “You never know, we felt we needed to win this game. The boys started fantastic, created chances, got in behind and got the lead and then, second half, we never managed to get the quality and tempo back up again.

“It was a good game of football, both could have won it but probably a draw is a fair result.

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“They’re probably more happy than we are with the draw. It’s one of those days and we must dust ourselves down and win the next two – you never know as points are being dropped left, right and centre.”

Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier League - Old Trafford De Gea concedes a costly equaliser. Source: Mike Egerton

Juan Mata, meanwhile, has stood by his compatriot. 

David is unquestionable for me,” he told Sky Sports. ”His level has been fantastic for this club. He’s been the best player over the last years; the amount of points he has saved us is incredible.

“We all have good and bad moments over our careers. For me, the important thing is how to react, and he’s determined to react positively, to do what he does best, which is be the best. I have 100 per cent confidence in him – we all have.

“Today, he is not happy, we are not happy, but tomorrow he will come to training with the best attitude as always. His level, for me, is unquestionable.

“What I can do is give him my honest consideration about the situation. He is obviously disappointed with that goal, but I honestly believe he is one of the best in the world and there is no question about that.

“Everyone makes mistakes, but if you’re a goalkeeper, when you make a mistake, it’s probably a goal. It’s difficult for them.

“But he is strong – he will save many goals in the next games. He’s been the best for us and he has my full confidence, and the team, the manager, everyone who loves Man United.”

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