Erik ten Hag praised David de Gea for his performance in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final victory over Brighton and Hove Albion, following a difficult game against Sevilla in the Europa League.
De Gea was responsible for all three of Sevilla’s goals as United crashed out of the Europa League. However, De Gea made several excellent saves against Brighton, and his performance helped the game go to penalties. United eventually made it into te FA Cup final where they’ll meet Man City.
While De Gea didn’t come close to stopping any of Brighton’s spot-kicks, United still won 7-6 thanks to Solly March’s miss and Victor Lindelof’s successful penalty kick.
Although United’s collective performance was not spectacular, there was a noticeable improvement from Thursday, including De Gea’s performance.
“I think he had two brilliant saves and know that he’s a world-class keeper,” Ten Hag said. “Thursday, he had a really bad day at the office, and it hurt.
“Really bad [day in the] office I have seen, but it’s always when you are the keeper and you make mistakes, often you get penalized.
“But it doesn’t mean that we have to go under. And also, we as a team, we let him down [against Sevilla] and we didn’t fight back on Thursday.
“[Criticism] was justified on Thursday but, today, the lads deserve compliments and credit because they bounced back once again, they showed character.
“What we have to learn and improve, which must be our next step, is that if we have a setback in a game, we fight back in that same game, that we keep calm and fight back in that same game.
“We have to deal with setbacks and we can do it better but in between games, and it’s not the first time, we do it very well.”
FA Cup final will be a Manchester derby
The FA Cup final will see Manchester United facing off against Manchester City, which will mark the first-ever Manchester derby in the competition’s final.
Despite being the underdogs, United’s manager Erik ten Hag highlighted their previous victory over City in the January derby, suggesting that they have what it takes to beat Pep Guardiola’s team who are currently chasing a treble.
“We have proof that we can beat them but then we have to play the perfect game,” Ten Hag continued.
“That was the most perfect game we played this season [winning the derby in January] but we have to go again.
“We know that but, first of all, we have to focus on different games because we have to be in the top four, to get into the Champions League for next season.”