David de Gea has insisted that while he feels “proud” of his own Manchester United performances, his team-mates let him down in a poor season.
United rounded off a sub-par campaign on Sunday with a 12th defeat – away at Crystal Palace. While they could have finished seventh in the Premier League, they stayed sixth after West Ham’s 3-1 defeat to Brighton.
That means the Red Devils will be playing Europa League football next term. And though it is European football all the same, United want to be fighting for the Champions League.
Nevertheless, as one sour chapter in Man Utd‘s history closes, another exciting one begins. Incoming new manager Erik ten Hag was at Selhurst Park on Sunday and has plenty to get his teeth into.
Indeed, Spanish goalkeeper De Gea admitted that the Dutchman faces a massive task to turn the club’s fortunes around.
“I’m honest, it’s a big job for him,” De Gea told MUTV. “But he showed already with Ajax, he plays very good, attacking football, so that’s what we need.
“Hopefully with some new players, with the new manager and his staff, some new energy, the ones who are staying can fight together, to improve the team, to put the club as high as possible.
“I feel sad [for the fans]. It’s unbelievable, they stay to support the team, big thanks to them.
“The ones that come to Old Trafford, the ones that come to the away games, I know it’s not easy, but they’ve been amazing, so thank you very much.”
As for the reasons for Man Utd’s poor showing, De Gea’s long-term team-mate Juan Mata blamed a host of factors.
De Gea proud of his performances
Mata said the players did not react well enough to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking in November and interim boss Ralf Rangnick’s subsequent arrival.
Mata added that the standards from the players have massively slipped from what Man Utd expect as a club.
However, De Gea has insisted that he thinks he has done well this season.
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“I’m proud, I’ve played every single minute in the Premier League,” he said. “I was working hard in the summer, to be honest, to show my level, to help the team and I think I did well, but this is a team sport, so it doesn’t matter what I did.
“I think I helped the team in some games, but it wasn’t enough to get Champions League.
“Let’s have a rest and be 100 per cent prepared for next season. I believe it’s going to be much better, I trust in the new manager and in the new staff.”
Man Utd need reset
Mata added in his assessment that Man Utd need a cultural reset and that should be the top priority for the club.
While new signings can help Ten Hag get his project off the ground, he will not get far without any solid foundations.
United need to start from scratch and really try to get the basics right.
It will therefore not be a quick fix, but Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp have showed that time is the greatest healer.
As such, United need to stick with Ten Hag, back him in the transfer market and not lose sight of their core standards along the way – as has been the case this season.