Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag sang the praises of goalkeeper David de Gea for his role in their 3-1 win against Fulham in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Having already won the Carabao Cup this season, the Red Devils will return to Wembley next month to take on Brighton for a place in the final. But for the majority of their last eight tie at home to Fulham, it looked as though United would instead be crashing out of the cup.
Aleksandar Mitrovic gave the visitors the lead early in the second half, with he and Willian both going close to adding to the Whites’ lead.
But in the final 15 minutes, Fulham imploded. Willian was sent off after a VAR check for handling for the ball on the goal line when trying to block a shot from Jadon Sancho, while Mitrovic and manager Marco Silva also received red cards for their over-exuberant protests to referees in the aftermath of the decision.
Bruno Fernandes levelled proceedings from the spot before Marcel Sabitzer quickly fired United in front, and the former rounded off the scoring deep into stoppage time.
But in his post-match press conference, Ten Hag singled out De Gea for praise, insisting his huge saves helped keep United alive in the tie.
“We created great opportunities and at half-time we should have been up because I can’t remember a save from David in the first half,” Ten Hag said. “And in second half, we came [into] difficulties out of the dressing room.
“We conceded the goal from the set play and we needed David to survive the game because he had two great saves. And then the key moment it was a great attacking transition and really well done by Antony, really well done by Jadon [Sancho], and it was a clear and obvious penalty.”
De Gea has, for the most part, returned to form this season, though will remain at United’s Carrington training base over the international break after again being overlooked by Spain. Three other Premier League goalkeepers – Brentford’s David Raya, Brighton’s Robert Sanchez and Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga – have been called up instead.