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Solskjaer shields goalkeeper D...
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Solskjaer shields goalkeeper De Gea from Scholes criticism

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has responded to Paul Scholes' criticism of his Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

Scholes accused De Gea of "bottling it" for Red Bull Leipzig's third goal in the 3-2 loss in Germany that saw United dumped out of the Champions League.

Justin Kluivert dinked home Leipzig's third 21-minutes from time.

Speaking on BT Sport after the game, former United midfielder Scholes said of De Gea's attempt at a save, "He bottles it. He’s scared of getting himself hurt.

"You should never go across your box like that. Harry Maguire is wooden and stiff and De Gea, as a goalkeeper you come out and make yourself as big as you can.

"You might get smashed in the face or get injured but he turns his back away. He actually makes himself smaller. It’s criminal for such an experienced goalkeeper."

The Spaniard's position is under renewed threat from Dean Henderson, who signed a long-term contract at Old Trafford in the summer.

A string of sub-par performances over the course of the last 18-months haven't helped De Gea's cause.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's Manchester derby, Solskjaer has stood in defence of the 30-year old.

"I think David's a top goalkeeper, of course I do, and rightly so he's on the lists of being the best goalkeeper in Europe," Solskjaer said, referring to De Gea's nomination for the World Goalkeeper of the Year.

"He's handled criticism before and setbacks before, he's a man that we really rely on and hopefully he's not affected by criticism and I don't think he will be.

"Every goal a goalkeeper concedes you'll be disappointed with."

Despite De Gea's woes, United go into Saturday's game with City a point ahead of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

But United have had a rotten habit of conceding early in recent weeks. They've conceded first in ten of their eighteen games this season.

Solskjaer knows they can't afford a sluggish start against City.

"Start quickly is one thing but start good [is another]," he said.

"You can start quickly. We want to get on the front-foot straightaway. Goals do impact games and when you get the first goal in a game it's easier, of course it is. That's something we want to get to in this game.

"We've done well against City in the last few games against them early on. Then again it's a 90-minute game but we want to get off to a good start.

"There are loads of things we can do better, we can defend better from the front. We scored quite a few goals in those 10 games as well, that's in the nature of Man United over the years, that there have been many, many goals.

"We want to defend maybe higher up, we got pegged back in midweek (against Leipzig) and they scored from some crosses, which was disappointing."

Daniel Harris talks Manchester derby, de Gea’s struggles, Pogba for Ronaldo rumours

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David De Gea Manchester City Manchester United Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Paul Scholes

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