Manchester United vs Fulham: Why Erik ten Hag believes David De Gea’s penalty save was the turning point?

That save acted as a catalyst, as Manchester United went on to score twice through Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes to end the Premier League campaign on third spot.

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea; Credit: Twitter/@D_DeGea
By Karthik Raman | May 29, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Manchester United ended the 2022-23 Premier League season on a high after registering a come-from-behind victory over Fulham. One of the key moments in the match was a penalty save by United’s goalkeeper David De Gea in the first half when the score was reading 1-0 to the visitors. Following Kenny Tete’s headed goal, Fulham had a chance to double the lead when Casemiro fouled Tom Cairney in the penalty box just before the half hour mark. De Gea denied Aleksandar Mitrovic from doubling Fulham lead with a brilliant save.

That save acted as a catalyst, as Manchester United went on to score twice through Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes to end the Premier League campaign on third spot. After the match, manager Erik ten Hag heaped praise on David De Gea for the penalty save. “I think it was the turning point. The save David made was brilliant: it stimulated the team to get into that intensity and pick up the game and win it, and we scored two great goals. At half-time we demanded the players to be calm. We grew as a team and as individuals and in the end the win was justified. It gives us all confidence for next week. We have a trophy and we can win another trophy,” he was quoted as saying by the club’s website to various media after the match.

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It’s historic and a big achievement: Erik ten Hag

Manchester United also registered an impressive 27 home victories in all competitions this season. Speaking about it, ten Hag said, “We absolutely wanted to win. Fulham are a good team who’ve played a great season but I think we created many chances. So I’m happy with this win, happy with third place and I’m happy that we matched the record here at Old Trafford – 27 home wins this season. It’s historic and a big achievement.”

Erik ten Hag was understandably not happy with the team’s slow start. However, he was pleased with his side’s response after going behind to Fulham. “It was a difficult start – I think we were quite ill-disciplined and not organised, and we got punished for that. But once again this team showed determination and after that we were better organised in and out of possession, we set the tempo and we created many chances. We won a lot of balls high up the pitch, we had good pressing and good turnovers, we found many players between the lines and they had huge problems with it,” he elaborated.

The Manchester United manager also emphasised the importance of investing in the upcoming summer transfer window if they are to compete for trophies once again. “The club knows if you want to go, if you want to play top four, if you want to compete for trophies in this tough league, then you have to invest, otherwise you don’t have a chance, because other clubs will do. We have seen it, in the winter, that all the clubs around us made huge investments. We didn’t, and still, we made it, so I’m really happy and proud of my team,” he added.

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