Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted it ‘said everything’ that goalkeeper David De Gea was Manchester United’s best player in their 4-2 defeat to Leicester City which harkens back to the days before his reign began
But there was one United man to come out with a smidge of pride: goalkeeper David De Gea.
His heroics, however, signal a stark reality that Solskjaer and co now find themselves in.
Post-match, the Red Devils manager lamented: “It says everything when David was our best player.”
It was most proven when the Spaniard spectacularly tipped Youri Tielemans‘ effort onto the post with the scores at 1-1, only for his defence not to deal with the resulting corner, eventually converted all too easily by Calgar Soyuncu.
But De Gea standing out amid mixed results was what used to happen in the days before Solskjaer returned to Old Trafford as boss.
The stopper was pivotal in keeping his team in multiple competitions, notably at his brilliant best when Jose Mourinho led the Red Devils to an unlikely second place finish in 2017-18.
But the feat was unlikely in all the wrong ways, with United statistically struggling and requiring De Gea to be on top form all too often.
According to the hotly-debated expected goals metric, he saved Mourinho and co from conceding over 13 Premier League goals that campaign.
Go back to the Louis van Gaal era and De Gea was pulling off world-class saves every week, ensuring the Red Devils still qualified for European competition in both of the Dutchman’s seasons.
Now Solskjaer could well be relying on the stopper to produce again, having already racked up a number of superb displays.
His double save in the victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers helped United to three points and his last-minute penalty save from Mark Noble, his first spot-kick stop since April 2016, almost categorically meant they came away with a win at West Ham.
Later in September, Villarreal came to town in the Champions League and faced a determined De Gea, pulling some marvellous interventions to keep the La Liga outfit at bay in another tight victory.
Will Solskjaer suffer the same fate as Moyes and van Gaal this season? Let us know your thoughts below.
Fast forward to Leicester and Solskjaer has demanded a turnaround, with matches against Atalanta and Liverpool to come this week.
“In isolation in one game, it can happen but then we’ve lost too many points in the last few league games,” the under-fire manager stated.
“Away from home we’ve been very solid, not conceded too many chances or conceded too many goals but today the goals we conceded today were disappointing.
“The timing of them and of course the way they were conceded, we weren’t good enough second ball, 50-50s, the things that make you earn a right to win a game of football.
“We spoke about that today before the game, this is a game you have to win loads of chances and unfortunately, we couldn’t get the 50-50s turning our way.
“It says everything our best player was David but we still conceded four goals.”