‘He’s been fantastic since I’ve been here’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer greets David de Gea as goalkeeper prepares to make 400th Manchester United appearance against Southampton
- David de Gea will make 400th Manchester United performance on Monday
- United will host Southampton as they continue to look for a place in the Champions League
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the Spaniard has been ‘fantastic’ since his arrival
David de Gea will play his 400th game for Manchester United on Monday evening, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claiming that the Spanish goalkeeper will consider it a black spot against his career if he does not win the Champions League.
United hunt for a spot in the top four while hosting Southampton at Old Trafford with only four games of the Premier League season left.
De Gea has won the league title, Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup once with United since signing with Atletico Madrid for £ 18.9 million in 2011.
David de Gea is lining up to make his 400th Manchester United appearance against Southampton
And Solskjaer believes emulating Peter Schmeichel by winning the Champions League means much more to the 29-year-old goalkeeper than personal achievements, such as surpassing the Dane’s 398 appearances, which he did on Thursday with a clean sheet against Aston Villa.
Alex Stepney, at 539, is the only goalkeeper who has played for United more times.
“David has been fantastic since I got here,” said Solskjaer.
“He came out and said he might want to play for another ten years. How long he can stay on top is up to him.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the Spanish goalkeeper has been ‘fantastic’ since the takeover
“He’s won the Premier League, he’s won the FA Cup, the Europa League and the League Cup, but that’s probably not enough for him.
“I think he won’t be happy until he wins the bigger trophies. I’ve stayed with Man United all this time and haven’t won again, I think that’s something he will feel like a black dot in his career. Yes, he has won his personal awards, but I don’t think David is the type that cares about personal awards.
“I think he wants the team to collect big trophies, too.”
De Gea has been criticized for making individual mistakes since Solskjaer returned to the club as a manager, especially towards the end of last season. But the Norwegian claims he never considered dropping his No. 1 goalkeeper, who signed a new £ 375,000 a week contract in September, as De Gea is mentally strong enough to take the anti-aircraft guns.
“It never occurred to me for a second, not at all,” he added. “To be a Manchester United goalkeeper, you have to have a strong mindset.
Solskjaer has also praised the 29-year-old for eliminating the mistakes from his game
“David has a strong mindset and he’s been here so long that he comes to 400 games and you don’t do that by being afraid of the limelight or being afraid of Old Trafford.
‘You do that by walking to that field and showing them your quality and mentality. He’s a strong character and I didn’t see any point in taking him out. ‘
United plans to extend an unbeaten run of 17 games on Monday-evening, while another goal for Mason Greenwood would see 18-year-old matches George Best, Brian Kidd and Wayne Rooney in 17 goals in one season for United as teenagers.
“He has the talent to go that far,” said Solskjaer. “Our job is to get him into positions where he can finish because he hits the target.”