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Solskjaer lavishes praise on De Gea after United maintain winning run

UK Sport | Published:

Solskjaer became the first Manchester United manager to win his first six matches in charge.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer called David De Gea the “best goalkeeper in the world” after his superb performance helped Manchester United to a record-breaking win at Tottenham.

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 caretaker boss 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.

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“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.

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“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 after Sunday’s heroics, with his deal due to expire next summer – after the activation of a one-year extension clause.

Press Association Sport 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.”

Paul Pogba is another enjoying playing for rejuvenated United, having struggled under Mourinho in recent months.

“I’m enjoying playing football,” he said, having provided a superb assist for Rashford.

“It was difficult in the system (under Mourinho), the tactics we used to play. “I like to be more attacking, pressing, play high. Defending is not my best attribute.”

Spurs striker Harry Kane limped off the pitch at full-time with an ankle injury
Spurs striker Harry Kane limped off the pitch at full-time with an ankle injury (Mike Egerton/PA)

The England striker has been out with similar injuries in each of the last two seasons, compounding the first-half withdrawal of the limping Moussa Sissoko.

“I think I am worried because we will see what happens with Harry Kane,” Pochettino said. “I think Moussa is only a small thing but we will see, we need to assess Harry Kane.

“At the end I think he suffered a big tackle and twisted his ankle and now we need to assess him over the next few days, hoping it is not a big issue.”

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