Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea admitted he tried to put added pressure on Brighton ’s penalty takers during Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final shootout.
United edged their way through to the final after beating the Seagulls 7-6 on penalties. It was a moment of relief for Erik ten Hag’s side, coming just three days after the painful 3-0 defeat by Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-final second leg.
The loss in Seville was particularly painful for David De Gea, who made errors for each of the home side’s goals in a calamitous performance. He enjoyed a much better showing at Wembley, making a string of fine saves to keep a clean sheet.
The Spaniard did not save any of Brighton’s seven penalties in the shootout, but Solly March blazed his effort over – allowing Victor Lindelof to step up and win it, ensuring each of United’s seven takers found the back of the net.
David De Gea – who did not save any of Villarreal’s 11 penalties during the 2021 Europa League final – struggled again to thwart his opponents. One United fan wrote on Twitter : “De Gea dived in the opposite direction for every penalty but United still won!” Another added: “De Gea just watching these penalties like us at home.”
However, while De Gea did not make any saves – he could be seen attempting to bring minor delays to each Brighton penalty taker, particularly March. The goalkeeper held onto the ball for a few seconds and stood over the penalty spot, delaying the Brighton midfielder’s effort.
“It was a very tight game against a very good team, who play really good football,” De Gea explained after the game. “We are in another final – but first we have another big game on Thursday (against Tottenham ) to focus on.”
When asked about his penalty tactic, David De Gea admitted: “We prepared the penalties as always, I tried to put pressure on each of their takers. Our team took perfect penalties so we are delighted we are in the final.”
De Gea added, looking ahead to the final: “It is a long way until the final but it will be a big game against one of the best teams in the world. But we have shown that we can beat them. There is a lot of time before then, so we must finish in top four first before giving everything to the final.
“We have already won one trophy and are in another final, we are better in the league from last season. We are improving and improving so we have to be ready.”