Sunday, 18 September 2011

Alex Ferguson hits out at De Gea ``witch-hunt''


Sir Alex Ferguson has hit out at what he claims is a media witch-hunt against David De Gea.

The Manchester United boss snapped live on TV this week when reporter Kelly Cates - daughter of Kenny Dalglish - queried whether the Spaniard would play against Chelsea today.

Anders Lindegaard threw down the gauntlet with a fine performance in the Champions League draw at Benfica after the £18.1 million signing’s shaky start to life in England.

But Fergie has hit back, claiming people want to see the 20-year-old flop.

“There’s obviously an agenda from the media on De Gea, we experienced that with the Press on Wednesday night again,” he said, confirming the former Atletico Madrid man will face Chelsea today.

“For some reason, people are desperate for the boy to fail, that’s the impression I get.

“He doesn’t speak English, he was looking for a house and is learning to drive in England.

“He’s 20-year-old and having to come into the country where he doesn’t know the culture – he’s had a lot to deal with.

“And he’s showed great composure about the whole thing. He’s not been flapping about in the goalmouth and he’s been absolutely outstanding.

“When stories appeared that he was going to be left out against Bolton, he knew he was playing. I told him on the Thursday, so waking up to those wouldn’t have been a problem.

“David is terrific. Last week at Bolton, the stats showed that when we got into their penalty box, he’d started seven of the attacks by chipping the ball.

“His passing stats were something like 90 per cent as well.”

Ferguson also revealed Lindegaard – who said after the Benfica match that he is not at United just to pick his nose – signed on with full knowledge that another goalkeeper was coming in.

He added: “When we signed him, he knew we were going to sign another one.

“That was put to him at the time that come the next season he’d be in a position where he’d have to challenge for a place.

“So he was happy with that and delighted to join United – and he showed on Wednesday that he’s a bloody good goalkeeper.

“The great thing about the two of them is their use of the ball is terrific. You’ve got a sweeper. If you play it back to them all the time, you know they’re going to deliver accurate passes to the back four and midfield.”

While the goalkeepers seem to cause concern for onlookers, up front there is no problem given Wayne Rooney’s phenomenal start to the season.

His eight United goals is a higher tally than any Premier League side in total, apart from Manchester City.

And Fergie believes he is flourishing in a senior role, at the grand old age of 25.

He said: “He’s older than most of the players now. We lost five players in their 30s and over – Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Edwin van der Sar, Wes Brown and John O’Shea.

“If you include Owen Hargreaves at 29, a lot of experience left the club.

“He’s only 25, certain players don’t start their career until then.

“But he’s possibly enjoying a more senior role. Ask anyone and the evidence is on the football field, he is showing more maturity in his game I think and he’s enjoying it.”

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