Erik ten Hag admits ‘there are issues’ with David de Gea after FA Cup nightmare.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag tried to shield goalkeeper David de Gea from criticism after his side’s FA Cup final defeat to Manchester City on Saturday, but conceded that the Spaniard must work on ‘issues’ in his game.
De Gea, already a divisive member of the squad, attracted plenty of criticism from supporters for some poor distribution at Wembley and his failure to keep out either of Ilkay Gundogan’s long-range strikes, the second of which left fans particularly disappointed.
Ten Hag is known to be keen on signing a new goalkeeper this summer to offer some genuine competition for De Gea and aid his desire to play out from the back, although the 32-year-old is expected to sign a new contract to keep fighting at Old Trafford.
Asked about De Gea’s performance during the final, Ten Hag first declined to call out his goalkeeper and instead offered some public support.
“In this moment, I don’t want to talk about such issues of criticism because we all played a great season – including David de Gea,” Ten Hag said. “He played a fantastic season.”
However, Ten Hag was then pressed about De Gea’s poor distribution and the boss conceded that things have to change.
“Say it like this: we are in the right direction,” he explained. “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.”
De Gea’s contract is set to expire this summer and United have opted against triggering their one-year extension clause amid concerns over his £350,000-a-week wages, which they hope to lower in talks over an extension.
Fresh terms are understood to have been agreed in principle between United and De Gea, but while Ten Hag has stressed his desire to keep the veteran stopper around, he has refused to offer De Gea any guarantees over his role at the club.
“I will not say he’ll always be my No.1 because in a club like Man Utd there must be competition in all positions,” Ten Hag told The Times. “You can’t do it with 11 players.
“It is impossible. You need double positions.”