Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended his goalkeeper David De Gea following his mistake in the UEFA Champions League showdown with Barcelona.
A 3-0 win for the Blaugrana over the Red Devils on Tuesday was enough to see them to a 4-0 aggregate win in the quarter-finals. After a brilliant opener from Lionel Messi on the night, he scored again, though his shot squirmed under a hapless De Gea and trickled into the net.
Speaking about De Gea after the game, Solskjaer praised the manner in which the Spaniard responded to that gaffe and noted the profligacy some of the attackers showcased early on, per Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News:
"That's unfortunate with goalkeepers. When you make an error, it can get highlighted, and that'll be remembered tonight. But he made some fantastic saves as well, which all in all, his contribution to the team is good, but sometimes that happens in football.
"You know when you get to this level, you cannot slip up and you cannot make mistakes and you've got to take the chances you get yourself. And we didn't capitalise on our great chance, but then they have their first two shots on target; that's two goals and game over."
The moment is one De Gea will want to forget, as the second goal effectively ended any chance of United getting back into the contest (U.S. only):
As OptaJose noted, it's rare to see the Spain international beaten from distance on so many occasions in the same game:
Previously, De Gea had established himself as the best goalkeeper in the world at United, as he was able to frequently make match-winning stops for his team. However, this season has been his most challenging for United since his debut year.
Not only has De Gea's shot-stopping been less assured, but the former Atletico Madrid man has made errors in his distribution that have proved costly, with errant passes leading to goals conceded against Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United.
Throughout his time at United, there has been speculation regarding his future. According to Miguel Delaney of The Independent, Paris Saint-Germain are interested in a summer move. Delaney added on Twitter that the 28-year-old is unlikely to extend his current contract, which expires at the end of next season:
Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney
There’s now a real fear De Gea won’t sign deal. But, as Spain first exposed to start this bad spell, he’s a keeper more suited to reactive Mourinho football, overtaken by Alisson/Ederson - and now well off best in world. Should it be such a fear any more? https://t.co/c7160Lyb1s
Alex Shaw of ESPN thinks the time is right for United to sell:
In an ideal world for United fans, De Gea will recover his form and sign a new contract, as he's proved to be a hugely positive influence for the team since arriving from Madrid in 2011.
After eight years at Old Trafford, perhaps a change of surroundings would benefit the stopper and reinvigorate him in what should be the peak years of his career. However, in what is Solskjaer's first summer in charge, United will surely be reluctant to entertain any offers for him.