Video: watch David de Gea’s wonder save against Sevilla
Spanish goalkeeper’s heroics earn Manchester United a 0-0 draw in first-leg tie
Sevilla 0 Manchester United 0
David de Gea has kept 19 clean sheets for Manchester United this season but perhaps none will turn out to be as financially crucial as the one he maintained against Sevilla last night.
De Gea produced a string of fine saves to prevent the Spanish side scoring in the first leg of United’s Champions League last-16 clash. The goalless draw puts United in the box seat ahead of the return leg at Old Trafford on 13 March.
Sevilla had 25 attempts on the United goal but none found their mark, with De Gea denying Joaquin Correa and Steven N’Zonzi before blocking Luis Muriel’s header in a brilliant one-handed save on the stroke of half-time.
No one could believe the ball wasn’t in the back of the United net - especially not Muriel, who gave de Gea a pat on the back for his brilliance.
It was a similar story after the break, with United, who were set up deep to defend, resisting wave after wave of Sevilla’s attack. The English side offered little offensively, with Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford the only players to come close to threatening the Spaniard’s goal.
The bluntness of their attack was illustrated by the removal of Alexis Sanchez after 75 minutes. The Chilean striker had been virtually anonymous and appeared to suffer from playing in too disciplined a role.
When a question was put to Jose Mourinho along those lines at the post-match press conference, the United manager didn’t respond well. “I think you are all, or many of you, in a new sport!” he snapped. “It looks like now some guys are creating a new sport. But I still don’t see it, because the winning teams, the top teams in the world now, not ten years ago, or 20 or 30, the top teams now, everybody works. Everybody has tactical discipline.”
Mourinho’s temper didn’t improve when the questions shifted to the subject of Paul Pogba, who started the match on the bench but was a first-half substitute for the injured Ander Herrera.
“In my pre-match interview, in four questions I had three questions about Paul, and Paul was not even playing. That’s a bit strange,” Mourinho said. “And I think respecting you, and your work, and I understand your question, but if I was one of you, I would ask if the Manchester United manager agrees if Scott McTominay had a fantastic performance. And my answer would be yes, he had a fantastic performance, he looked a senior player.”
Nonetheless, Mourinho did praise Pogba for bringing some “stability” to the team display that he claimed warranted a share of the spoils, despite the statistics suggesting otherwise.
“I think the only moment where we felt relieved was in the last couple of minutes of the first half, where by a couple of our mistakes in possession they had a couple of good instances and David made some great saves,” he said.
“The game was even, the stats are what they are. Sometimes you have 15 shots, but 13 of them were what I call ‘statistic shots’. So I really feel that the result reflects what the game was.”
Last night’s Champions League results:
- Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Roma 1
- Sevilla 0 Manchester United 0