Football

David de Gea’s form more than a blip: Gary Neville

Former United captain says goalie needs to go back to basics to gain confidence

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea must go back to basics to boost his confidence and reverse his disappointing run of form, said former captain Gary Neville.

De Gea deflected Steven Bergwijn's shot into his own net in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur last Friday and the Spaniard was lambasted by another ex-United captain, Roy Keane, who said he was "sick to death" of the goalkeeper.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended de Gea after Keane's comments, though he has also recently tipped academy product Dean Henderson to become first choice for club and country.

It was the seventh error leading to a goal that de Gea had committed since the start of last season, the joint-highest alongside Newcastle United's Martin Dubravka, Everton's Jordan Pickford and Arsenal's Bernd Leno, according to EPL statistics.

"He's got to go back to basics ... He was the one player United could rely upon for the last four years, but he's not the same," Neville said on his podcast.

"When form drops for six months, it's a blip but, when it goes on for a year, you start to worry. When it goes over two years, it becomes more permanent."

United, who are fifth on 46 points, face Sheffield United, two points and places below them, on Thursday morning (Singapore time).

Blades manager Chris Wilder believes his players have a point to prove against Man United, after their Champions League qualification hopes took a major knock on Sunday when they were beaten 3-0 by Newcastle.

"If you look through the last two games, not many can say they are on top of their game," Wilder, whose side also played a goalless draw against Aston Villa last week, told a virtual news conference yesterday.

"We can beat the best team in the world on our day. You have to have that attitude and go with that mindset."

Wilder will have to make do without the suspended John Egan and Henderson, who is ineligible to play against his parent club, with either Simon Moore or Michael Verrips set to replace him at Old Trafford. - REUTERS

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