Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he can “rely on” David de Gea despite the goalkeeper facing a fresh wave of criticism this week.
De Gea, 30, finds himself in the spotlight after he appeared to turn away as Justin Kluivert scored to put RB Leipzig 3-0 up in Tuesday’s vital Champions League tie.
United hit back twice in the closing stages but it was too little, too late and Solskjaer’s side dropped to the Europa League with defeat in Germany.
De Gea’s performance also led to renewed calls for back-up shot-stopper Dean Henderson to be promoted to first choice ahead of the crunch clash with Manchester City.
But Solskjaer sent a message of support to the Spaniard as he hinted the No. 1 will keep his place between the posts for Saturday’s derby.
“I think David is a top goalkeeper, of course I do,” Solskjaer said. “Rightly so, he’s on the lists of being the best goalkeeper in Europe.
“For me, he’s handled criticism before, he’s handled setbacks before.
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“He’s a man that we really rely on, and hopefully he’s not affected by criticism, and I don’t think he will be. Every goal that a keeper concedes you’d be disappointed with.”
Solskjaer’s defence of De Gea comes after former midfielder and Red Devils legend Paul Scholes said the goalkeeper “bottled” it for Kluivert’s goal it in a scathing verdict earlier this week.
“David de Gea here, he bottles it doesn’t he? Basically, he’s scared of getting hurt,” Scholes told BT Sport.
“It should never go across the box like that. Harry Maguire looks wooden, he’s very stiff.
“And De Gea, as a goalkeeper, he comes out, make yourself as big as you can, you might get smashed in the face, you might get injured, but he turns his back away.
“He makes himself smaller which is criminal and for such an experienced goalkeeper. It’s criminal.”
Should Solskjaer start De Gea or Henderson in goal for the Manchester derby? Have your say here.
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