Manchester United demote David De Gea in wake of crushing Villarreal final defeat
Man Utd: Should Henderson start over De Gea?
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Manchester United have decided they’ll start next season with Dean Henderson as their No 1 in the wake of David De Gea’s performance against Villarreal on Wednesday night, reports say. The Red Devils lost on penalties in the Europa League final. And that means their wait for silverware will go on.
Manchester United went into the Europa League final as favourites to beat Villarreal and claim the prize.
But that didn’t happen, with Solskjaer’s side enduring a horrendous evening in Poland.
Villarreal took the lead through Gerard Moreno, who was simply too strong for Victor Lindelof before prodding home.
Edinson Cavani then struck to force extra time but United lost on penalties, with De Gea failing to save a single spot-kick.
To make matters worse for the Spain international, he also fluffed his lines when stepping up himself – handing the La Liga side the trophy.
It was a bad night for United and De Gea, who was consoled by his team-mates and Sir Alex Ferguson at the final whistle.
And The Mirror claim De Gea will now be demoted in the aftermath of the contest, with Henderson set to be first-choice from the beginning of next season.
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It’s claimed United could now even offload the 30-year-old, who is their highest earner on weekly wages of £350,000-a-week.
But that will be easier said than done, especially with so many of Europe’s top clubs hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.
De Gea was fortunate to get the nod over Henderson for the final against Villarreal, having previously fallen down Solskjaer’s pecking order.
Yet the Norwegian decided to take a gamble and it failed to pay off, with the Red Devils instead slipping to an agonising defeat.
It now means United have gone four years and counting without a single trophy, with their last piece of silverware coming during Jose Mourinho’s time in charge.
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And the onus is on Solskjaer to get things right for the start of next term.
De Gea has now conceded the last 40 penalties he’s faced on competitive matches, with 21 of them coming for United, four for Spain and the rest coming in numerous penalty shootouts.
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer admitted he had contemplated bringing Henderson on for De Gea – but ultimately chose against the idea.
“You go through every scenario, of course,” said Solskjaer.
“It crossed my mind in the build-up to the game, but we were confident in David and we prepared.
“But in a penalty shoot-out, anything can happen and I stuck with the keeper who played all of the game.”
And the Norwegian also revealed that United players were ‘disappointed’ in the dressing room after the game, adding: “It’s quiet, a disappointed dressing room. That’s football for you.
“Sometimes it’s decided on one kick – and that’s the difference between winning and losing.
“We have to learn from that one, not savour this feeling but taste this feeling and make sure we don’t get it again.
“We didn’t turn up. We didn’t play as well as we know we can. We started alright and they got the goal, their only shot on target. We were disappointed to concede a goal on a set play.
“We pushed, we pressed, we got a goal. After we scored we didn’t control the game or dominate as we wanted.
“They made it hard for us, they closed spaces. We had the majority of possession. They defended well. We didn’t create enough big chances.
“Now is not the time to point the finger at what I’d have done differently. But when you come out without the trophy you haven’t done everything right.
“We’re getting closer and closer and better. We were one kick away from a trophy and a good night.
“We have to have the desire to come back next year and improve.
“The only way to get the margins your side is to work harder and better.”
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