Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lauded David De Gea after a breathtaking display at Tottenham that underlined to the Manchester United caretaker manager that he has the “best goalkeeper in the world”.
Sunday’s encounter between the two bookmakers’ favourites to permanently succeed Jose Mourinho as Red Devils boss lived up to the billing at Wembley, where Marcus Rashford’s sublime first-half strike sealed a 1-0 win against Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs.
It extended Solskjaer’s winning start to a club-record sixth successive match in all competitions, but the main subject of conversation afterwards was De Gea.
After a quiet opening period, the United goalkeeper pulled off 11 saves in an exceptional second-half display that earned plaudits aplenty.
“Obviously it’s a tough venue to come to,” Solskjaer said after the win. “Spurs are flying at the moment – they score goals, they’ve got some fantastic players and we defended really well.
“We had a fantastic goalkeeper, obviously.
“Second half, we made hard work of it. Maybe because of ourselves they created many, many chances but first half I thought it was spot on.
“Team spirit, we can defend – Jonah [Phil Jones], Victor (Lindelof) fantastic with Luke (Shaw) and Ash (Young) next to them.
“We’ve got the best goalkeeper in the world – I’ve said that many times – and we’ve got blistering pace up front and the goal was fantastic by Rash.
“It’s a hard skill, you know, to score from that angle with a right foot and an instep.
“I thought he was going to go near post, but it was a well-struck finish.”
Asked if this was the best he had seen from De Gea, Solskjaer said: “Well, he had one against Arsenal a couple of years ago – but he should have held a few of them!
“But there’s maybe one or two fantastic saves and the rest was just about concentration and being in the right position.
“We’ve had some great keepers at this club and I think he’s challenging both Edwin (Van Der Sar) and Peter (Schmeichel) for the number one spot historically.”
Talk over De Gea’s United future is sure to intensify in the coming days after Sunday’s heroics, with his deal is due to expire next summer – after the activation of a one-year extension clause.
Football Paradise understands talks are ongoing and the 28-year-old certainly seems happy at the club under caretaker boss Solskjaer.
“He brings happiness, the players are playing very well,” De Gea told Sky Sports.
“The team is strong now, very strong. “We know how to control the games, how to keep the ball, how to create chances, and that’s very good for us. This is the real Manchester United.”
Sir Alex Ferguson looked like a proud father as the goalkeeper he signed in 2011 flourished at Wembley under the guidance of a player who sealed the treble for his side in 1999.
The former United manager is also understood to be a big fan of Tottenham boss Pochettino, who would not be drawn into talk over the head-to-head with Solskjaer.
Instead, he focused on the positives of his side’s display despite a second straight home Premier League loss.
“I am so happy with the performance,” Pochettino said. “The second half, I think we did so well, we played so well.
“We created enough chances to score goals and to win the game, 11 saves from De Gea that made him man of the match in the end.
“For me, it was one of the best performances I’ve seen after four-and-a-half years at Tottenham. The best 45 minutes.
“The first half we didn’t create too much but I think we dominated it.
“Of course, when we suffered the (Moussa) Sissoko injury we didn’t organise quick and maybe in that moment it was a few minutes that we concede the goal.
“But I think overall the performance was fantastic. That is football. Sometimes you deserve, and you not win, and sometimes you don’t deserve too much, and you win.
“My feeling today is in the opposite way to when we played at Old Trafford.
“After winning the game 3-0, I wasn’t happy. But today after the defeat I’m very pleased with the performance.”
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