Erik ten Hag has defended David de Gea after his errors in Manchester United’s 3-0 defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League on Thursday.
De Gea had a night to forget in Spain as he was at fault for Sevilla’s opening goal due to his decision to pass to an under-pressure Harry Maguire, who lost possession which allowed Youssef En-Nesyri to get the goal.
The 32-year-old also made another mistake with nine minutes left as he failed to deal with a long ball towards his goal and his bad control enabled En-Nesyri to complete Sevilla’s victory.
Ten Hag has already faced calls this campaign to replace De Gea this summer once the Spanish keeper’s contract with United expires.
But when asked if De Gea is Manchester United’s long-term goalkeeper after Sevilla defeat, Ten Hag replied: ‘He is the one with the most clean sheets in the Premier League. ‘So it shows he’s a very capable goalkeeper.’
Ten Hag also claimed the mentality that was shown by his players in the loss to Sevilla was ‘unacceptable’.
‘I have to acknowledge that it is the truth: it is hard, it is tough and it can’t be. It’s unacceptable,’ said Ten Hag.
‘We have to learn. We have to start games better, more desire, passion, composure on the ball. And when we have a setback we have to deal with it and get back on the ball. We have to be better. It is not about the playing skills. It is about character.
‘They had more willingness to win and that can’t be, I think it is unacceptable.
‘We have to pick the players up. But we also have to face that we let ourselves down, we have let the fans down. If you want to win trophies, if you want to be successful, you need character.
‘I have had this [situation] many times… City, Liverpool, Brentford. And every time we bounced back.
‘We have good mental skills, on some occasions we are not there. What we have to accept now is that it is unacceptable. Everyone can see that the demands and the standard has to be higher in a club such as Manchester United.
‘We have seen we can do it against Forest. We had the desire and today we didn’t. You can expect that Manchester United players do it more consistently. Too often we have a really poor performance and that can’t be.’