Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted that he will retain goalkeeper David de Gea for tonight's match at Newcastle despite the 21-year-old's indecision against Blackburn which allowed Steve Kean's side to claim their 3-2 victory at Old Trafford on New Year's Eve.
Ferguson hopes to have Rio Ferdinand restored to the heart of central defence this evening, providing De Gea with the leadership in his own area which he has been unable to supply during a less than convincing first five months at Old Trafford. But the United manager's resolve to stick with the Spaniard rather than Anders Lindegaard in the teeth of what he perceives as a campaign of negativity towards the £18.9m summer acquisition, is approaching unsustainability, as Lindegaard continues to impress.
Public praise for the £3.5m Dane has been in short supply from Ferguson, who believes it will be characterised as a slight on the Spaniard, but last Friday he acknowledged the professionalism of the 27-year-old in accepting De Gea's repeated selection ahead of him. "Both keepers are very professional, particularly in the case of Anders dealing with a younger keeper in De Gea. He's been terrific, the boy. He trains very well, so it's easy to manage that," Ferguson said.
Lindegaard, who has conceded only once in seven appearances for United against De Gea's 23 conceded in 18, has confidence, dominance and his vastly superior English seems to be a significant factor in penalty-box communication. "Calmfidence - 6!" he said after the 5-0 win over Wigan Athletic on Boxing Day – in reference to his clean sheet record.
Lindegaard is fond of saying that he is not at United "to pick his nose" and that impeccable English has also allowed him to articulate his desire for goalkeeping supremacy without making the pressure personal to De Gea – whose most glaring errors have come against Manchester City (twice), Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion and Benfica. Ferguson, who will restore Wayne Rooney and hopes to have Ryan Giggs back tonight, has dismissed the Rovers defeat as a "freak result" and suggested that his side's midfield did not have enough experience to cope, with 15 players out. "We just didn't have enough experience in that [midfield] area of the pitch. Blackburn put three players in there and made it difficult for us," he told radio station Sirius XM.Reuse content