Erik ten Hag has hailed Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea as ‘complete’ ahead of the club’s Europa League clash with Sevilla and says the most important attribute in goal will always be the ability to stop shots.
United face off against Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium on Thursday evening in the second leg of their Europa League quarter final, and head into the game off the back of conceding two late goals to draw 2-2 with the Spanish side last week.
If the Red Devils win the game on Thursday, they’ll book their place in a third semi-final of the season under new manager Ten Hag, having already won the Carabao Cup and set up an FA Cup semi-final clash with Brighton at Wembley Stadium this weekend.
Key to United’s impressive form under Ten Hag has been the resurgence of De Gea between the sticks. The Spaniard recently surpassed Peter Schmeichel’s tally of clean sheets during the club’s Carabao Cup final win over Newcastle at Wembley on Sunday, collecting his 181st since joining the club in 2011.
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Speaking to the press ahead of the game on Thursday, Ten Hag was keen to single out De Gea for special praise and revealed the single most important thing he can do for the team.
“Stopping goals, avoiding goals as that is the main job for a goalkeeper,” Ten Hag said. “You can do it in many more ways, everyone has their own particular style and nowadays in possession, it becomes more and more important, especially at the top level because there you take control and it is more difficult for the opponent to gain pressure, you also concede less chances.
“But at the end of the day it’s about stopping goals, stopping shots, stopping crosses, one-on-ones etc. so that is more like the classic goalkeeper. I think David is really multi-functional and a really compete goalkeeper. We are very happy with him.”
90min understands that Man Utd are confident of agreeing a new contract with De Gea on reduced terms. The player signed a four-year deal worth £375,000 per week back in 2019, and is now nearing the final year of that contract.
De Gea has also recently reiterated his desire to stay at Old Trafford, saying to Sky Sports: “I’ve been here many, many years, enjoying every moment in this club and playing many games. It’s great to be here…massive club. I love the club and I’m really happy here.”
On this edition of The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders & Rob Blanchette discuss Alejandro Garnacho’s injury status, Anthony Martial impacting United after returning from injury, Raphael Varane’s absence in defence & more!
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