David de Gea revealed that Sevilla striker Luis Muriel praised him for a “great save” from his header during Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with the Spanish side in the Champions League last 16 first leg.
The Spaniard, who had just tipped Steven N’Zonzi’s effort over the bar, was confronted with a Muriel header from point-blanc range and somehow managed to palm the ball to safety.
That was the closest Sevilla came to scoring, with De Gea stopping eight shots in total whilst hardly looking troubled by any of them.
And De Gea, speaking after the game, noted that the Columbian striker complimented him for a save that nobody in the stadium thought he would make.
“He said it was a great save,” he said.
“But the most important thing is the result, we don’t concede, so now the result is open. We need to play at home at Old Trafford, hopefully we can win there.”
Sevilla boss Vincenzo Montella may have seen his side dominate possession and the share of chances on Wednesday night, but there was precious little to trouble United ahead of the second leg.
The Italian curiously left Wassim Ben Yedder, his best attacking player and top goalscorer, on the bench and didn’t bring him on, taking off Muriel – who never looked like scoring – for Sandro Ramirez instead. In a game where the onus was on the home side to draw first blood, they were somewhat unimaginative, largely predictable in their attacking movements.
United were worse, of course, but Mourinho hardly set up his side to dominate. He will be confident from what he’s seen that his side – unbeaten at home in Europe under his watch – can ramp up a gear at Old Trafford and outscore the fifth placed La Liga side in two week’s time.