Erik ten Hag praised David de Gea for his vital save in Manchester United’s win over Brentford – though he also made a big error that almost cost his side.
A first-half goal from Marcus Rashford was enough to give the Red Devils a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford on Wednesday but the result would have been different if not for De Gea.
The best and the worst of the United goalkeeper was on display in the second-half as he attempted a long goal-kick only for Ivan Toney to rush him, with the ball nearly rebounding off the Brentford player and into l the net.
De Gea made amends later though, denying Kevin Schade’s close range effort that would have levelled the game and put a dent in United’s top four hopes.
De Gea has continued to produce superb saves throughout the season, just as he has for most of his 12-year career at Old Trafford, but his distribution continues to hold him and United back.
Ten Hag was pleased with the Spaniard’s display, telling BBC Sport: ‘When you need David, he is there and when you lose focus, mistakes can happen.
‘We want to play as a machine and don’t make mistakes. We make one mistake and luckily they didn’t benefit from it and also it was the performance from David de Gea.’
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De Gea is out of contract in the summer window with reports suggesting he could leave for free with Brentford’s David Raya one of the shot-stoppers touted to replace him.
The win against the Bees has put United into fourth, level on points with Newcastle, who beat West Ham 5-1 on Tuesday, and three points ahead of Tottenham with a game in hand over Spurs.
‘Of course, this is a a massive win for the Premier League, especially over Brentford,’ Ten Hag added.
‘In 16 games they have only lost one. It is always difficult to play against them and to beat them but we did so I am proud of my team today.
‘This gives us energy so we have to keep this and go to Saturday [against Everton], another big game.’