David De Gea remains confident in his ability despite scrutiny over his position and performances, with the goalkeeper fully focused on helping Manchester United challenge for trophies next season.
A season as long as it has been challenging came to an end on Sunday in Germany, where Europa League experts Sevilla secured a 2-1 comeback win to end United’s hopes of adding silverware to their third-place finish.
De Gea was somewhat surprisingly given the nod for the semi-final ahead of Sergio Romero and could do little to prevent the defeat in Cologne, where boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke afterwards about the need to improve next season.
United’s number one spot remains a point of discussion, especially as Dean Henderson shone on loan at Sheffield United during a period in which the Spain international made some high-profile errors.
But talk about United’s goalkeeping situation has not affected the thinking of the club’s four-time player of the year, nor has it seen his confidence waver.
“No, I trust in myself,” De Gea told the PA news agency. “I showed my qualities all the years, so I just keep available for the manager. I’m always ready to play and try to help the team as always, as I did always.”
De Gea signed new and improved terms with the Old Trafford giants until at least 2023 last September, just weeks into the start of Solskjaer’s first season at the helm.
— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) September 17, 2019
The United boss has kept the faith with the 29-year-old during challenging months and the goalkeeper believes they are on the right track under the 1999 treble hero.
“I think we improved already this season,” De Gea said after just missing out on the Europa League final. “We were 14 points behind the third position in the Premier League. We finished third at the end.
“We play very good I think (in) many games. Today we deserve to be in the final, if we are honest.
“But maybe we need a bit of experience, more experience in the team, but we have to score the chances. That was the point for us for tonight’s game.
“Let’s keep improving, let’s keep fighting for this club and let’s try to win trophies next season.”
There appears to be a real hunger within the squad to kick on after an arduous campaign that United’s players will have little time to recover from given the Premier League resumes next month.
“There has been a lot of games,” De Gea said. “Not a lot of rest, so we have like a couple of weeks to rest, properly rest, and then to start training again.
“We have to be 100 per cent focused and ready to play our best football.”
But nothing is straightforward in the Covid-19 era and UK travel guidelines could prevent a number of players travelling home. If De Gea decides to return to Spain, he currently faces two weeks of self-isolation when back in England.
“I don’t know,” he said when asked if he would be able to go home during the break.
“Now we are just thinking about the semi-final, the game tonight, to check what we can improve and what we can do better.
“Maybe tomorrow and after tomorrow we can think about holidays.”