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‘Fantastic season’: Erik ten Hag defends David de Gea after FA Cup final defeat

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has defended goalkeeper David de Gea following the 2-1 FA Cup final defeat to Manchester City.

The Red Devils had a horrendous start at the Wembley Stadium yesterday, conceding after just 13 seconds on the clock. De Gea was rooted to his spot after Ilkay Gundogan’s strike.

The Spaniard was hardly at fault but he should have done better to prevent City’s winner. Gundogan’s tame shot from the edge of the box found the back of the net through a crowded defence.

De Gea’s positioning was not the best and he could not cover ground to stop the effort.

Speaking after the 2-1 loss, Ten Hag said that he does not want to criticise any player including De Gea, who has had a fantastic season with 25 clean sheets for United.

He said via ESPN: “In this moment, I don’t want to talk about such issues of criticism because we played all a great season – including David De Gea, he played a fantastic season.”

“Say it like this, we are in the right direction. But there are occasions in the game, issues in the game we have to improve, definitely, if we want to make the next step and win trophies.”

The Dutch tactician added that he plans to improve the squad during the off-season and has already communicated his ideas to the club ahead of the summer transfer window.

He added: “I have only one plan, that is to improve this club and to improve this team. I have my ideas and I already told the club what we have to do for that but I have to work with my staff, with my players to be better next season.”

“It’s not about getting players in and they do well. It’s about we work all season and day by day to develop the team, progress the team. I’m very proud where we came from in the start of the season.”

De Gea’s position under the radar

The Spaniard made several outstanding saves during the 2022/23 campaign but also had poor outings.

He made four errors leading to goals and there are now questions over his future as the number one.

Ten Hag recently refused to guarantee that De Gea would continue as the first-choice goalkeeper.

This is probably a hint that the club are looking to pursue a new shot-stopper this summer.

While De Gea could stay with a new contract, he could play second fiddle to the new signing.

Porto’s Diogo Costa is apparently the prime transfer target for the Red Devils.

The Portuguese has been tipped to move to the Premier League in the coming weeks.

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