David de Gea’s penalty shootout miss cost Man Utd the Europa League Final against Villarreal and the goalkeeper has spoken for the first time since his spot kick was saved
David de Gea has vowed to return triumphantly after missing the decisive penalty in Manchester United’s Europa League final loss.
21 out of 22 spot kicks were scored in the shootout with the goalkeeper’s miss proving costly.
He was unable to stop any of Villarreal’s efforts before seeing his shot saved as United’s trophy drought continues.
De Gea has had to wrestle back his starting role having been usurped by Dean Henderson midway through the season.
And he has posted an image of himself and Sir Alex Ferguson on social media with the caption: “To fall and rise. Learn from the experience, fight again and win. @manchesterunited Thanks for your support”.
United goalkeeping coaches Richard Hartis and Craig Mawson handed De Gea a note to place inside his towel before the shootout detailing an indicator as to which way each Villarreal player would go
On occasion it would’ve served him well and other times not, but had he followed each instruction things may well have been different.
The decision to opt for De Gea over Henderson has attracted criticism given his record at saving penalties.
Not since the FA Cup semi-final in 2016 has De Gea stopped an effort from 12 yards.Since then he has failed to save any of his last 40 penalties with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceding he contemplated swapping him for Henderson before the shootout.
He said: “You go through every scenario, of course, and it [De Gea’s penalty record] had crossed my mind in the build-up to the game but we were confident in David and prepared.
“Anything can happen in a penalty shootout. I stuck with the keeper who played all of the game.
“I’ve got to say the penalty shootout was high quality, but we didn’t do enough in the 120 minutes to score more goals and that’s the disappointing bit.
“We had pressure, we had moments where we felt if we can just kick on a little bit now we can get a goal. But we just couldn’t.”
The Norwegian refused to class their campaign as a success before telling BT Sport: “We need to get better, simple as.
“We’ve done really well this season coming through. The start was difficult. We had no pre-season and lost three of the first six.
“We pushed in the league, maybe got closer to the top than we thought and we got to a final. But you need to win the finals to make it a good season.”