Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was quick to heap praise on match-winner David de Gea after the goalkeeper saved a crucial, last-minute penalty against West Ham United.
Manchester United looked destined to take only one point away from West Ham United after Luke Shaw conceded a last-minute penalty. David de Gea was on hand to stop Mark Noble’s spot-kick rather superbly to hand his team all three points when the game looked destined to end in a draw.
Said Benrahma opened the scoring in the first half with a deflected shot, but Cristiano Ronaldo scored the equaliser without wasting much time. The Portuguese forward scored from a terrific Bruno Fernandes cross. Jesse Lingard came off the bench, and scored a beautiful goal from inside the box to cap off a villainous return to the London stadium.
However, Luke Shaw stole the limelight from Lingard after blocking a cross with his hand and giving West Ham a chance to earn a draw from the penalty spot. David Moyes bizarrely brought on veteran Mark Noble just to take the spot-kick.
While it would have been a dramatic point earned had Noble scored from the spot, the veteran missed. David de Gea was pulled off a fine save and handed United an unlikely three points to keep their unbeaten start to the season going.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 19, 2021
Solskjaer was delighted with de Gea after his game-winning penalty save and spoke briefly about what he has done differently this season to propel him to such heights.
“You know he’s a top keeper; everyone loves having him behind them. He’s come back focused, really determined, with a desire to show who he is. It’s his 11th season, and we’ve never stopped believing in him, and it’s important that he also knows that. He came in pre-season and said: ‘I know I’m supposed to be rested, but I want to come back early,’ and that just shows his determination.”
Placing more emphasis on his recent return to form after severe struggles in the last few seasons since 2018, Solskjaer gave a fair assessment of his character this season. Solskjaer continued, “He’s a different man. He asked to come back early for pre-season and wanted to show how good he is. He’s so focused and saved two points for us today.”
If De Gea continues this sort of form, which is reminiscent of the period between 2013-2018, it could take Manchester United places in terms of the title challenges on all fronts. It remains to be seen if the shot-stopper is capable enough to keep this momentum going, and if yes, for how long?