I don’t write too many opinion pieces these days but feel moved to say something about this, although I’m sure a lot of fans will disagree with me.
For a lifelong Manchester United fan, last night’s home draw against Southampton hurt like hell. It felt like this was going to be our moment – taking three points to put us into the top three and cap a fantastic run – but we fluffed our lines. It was a poor performance from most of the side.
It felt a little like we’d lost in a penalty shootout in a cup final.
I went to bed feeling miserable and woke up feeling even worse.
But what was United’s goalkeeper David de Gea feeling? Proud.
Proud 4️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ pic.twitter.com/BprjyvxaxM
Of course, playing 400 games for the best club in the world is a great achievement. And I am not blaming the Spaniard for either of last night’s Southampton goals, although many question his clearance on the first and are arguing he was glued to his line for the second when he should have been out punching the ball away.
I haven’t forgotten either the fact that he pulled off a great save minutes before the equaliser that could have saved those two vital points on another occasion.
What bothers me is that De Gea was feeling proud at 12:36AM when he should have been feeling gutted and devastated like the rest of us.
United fans are loyal and forgiving. We remember how many times Dave has saved us over the years, how many times he’s won Player of the Season and how many points he’s won us single-handedly over those 400 games. So we overlook the mistakes that now litter his game and the dearth of commanding performances we see nowadays compared to, say, three or four years ago.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is trying to instil a mentality in this team. He wants players who will bleed for the badge. He wants hungry warriors who understand the DNA of the club and what it is to be Manchester United.
Such a player is not feeling proud three hours after that performance and result and if he is, he certainly knows that now is not the time to Tweet about it.
Of course, the Tweet might have been posted by a ill-informed member of De Gea’s social media team. But if he really did tweet it himself, it just tells me that this United squad’s best paid player does not care as much about United being successful as you or I do. That, for me, is a far worse problem than his form.
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