Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed goalkeeper David de Gea after the Spaniard produced another shaky performance in this weekend’s high-scoring draw against Everton in the Premier League.
De Gea came in for criticism from some quarters after a weak parry from Dominic Calvert-Lewin early in the second half presented Toffees midfielder Abdoulaye Doucouré with a tap in that brought Everton back into the contest at Old Trafford. Calvert-Lewin then equalised with the final kick of the game, prompting more questions of the Manchester United goalkeeper as he was beaten to the ball by the 23-year-old striker.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Says David de Gea Was Not Culpable for Everton Goals
Manchester United Boss Refuses to Highlight Individual Mistakes
The subject of de Gea’s roles in Everton’s first and third goals in Saturday’s 3-3 draw was put to the United manager in a post-match interview with Sky Sports, but Solskjaer refused to criticise his often-maligned shot-stopper in the aftermath of the stalemate.
“I wouldn’t blame anyone on the goals,” said the Norwegian when addressing the media. “We know we could have done better as a team to defend all of them.”
Solskjaer did, however, criticise his side for their inability to see out a lengthy period of injury time at Old Trafford. Instead of maintaining ball possession until the final whistle, United gave away a cheap and ultimately costly free-kick that they were punished for right at the death. “All we had to do was get the ball into the corner and see it out, and we didn’t,” said the 47-year-old of his team’s game management.
Solskjaer Still Searching for Balance to Shore up Leaky Defence
Manchester United’s considerable attacking prowess was once again on show against Carlo Ancelotti‘s Everton on Saturday. Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani has now scored against the Merseyside outfit in three separate games this season, while Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes took his season tally to 13 goals in the top flight with a stunning effort in the closing stages of the first half.
Overall, Solskjaer’s United are the top scorers in the division so far this season with 49, at least six goals clear of any other side. However, they have been unable to marry attacking threat with defensive solidity, and have now conceded 30 goals in just 23 Premier League games. This is more than any other side in the top half of the table and is a higher tally than 17th-placed Burnley.
In contrast, league leaders Manchester City have only shipped 15 goals from their opening 23 league matches, as Pep Guardiola‘s team shows the rest of the division the importance of establishing a watertight defence above all other elements of their game.