Matej Kovar made an uncharacteristic error in the 4-1 victory away to Swansea City for Manchester United’s under-23 side, but it will be an area of the Czech stopper’s game that will continue to improve.
In the sixth minute, Keiran Evans fired a low shot and the ball took a slight deflection off Teden Mengi, which ended up squirming underneath Kovar at his near post, who was unsighted and wrong-footed.
The shot wasn’t powerful but Neil Wood’s young goalkeeper would have been disappointed not to keep the ball out especially with the high standards he has set for himself, with an array of impressive performances this season.
The 19-year-old’s confidence looked to temporarily desert him as he became hesitant to come off his line and seemed unsure on how to deal with some of the crosses being sent into his box.
Kovar wasn’t at his calming and commanding best until he collected a confidence boosting cross under a challenge, which left him requiring treatment midway through the first half.
From that moment onwards he showcased his mental toughness and it seemed like he had wiped the opening goal out of his memory.
He once again illustrated his composure in distribution by effortlessly chipping the ball to his left-back Reece Devine despite being under pressure from an on-rushing striker.
Kovar has 7 clean sheets in 9 games this season and two of those have been against senior sides Lincoln and Rotherham in the English Football League Trophy.
In the 39th minute he showcased his handling skills by collecting a powerful shot straight at him cleanly and not offering any rebound opportunity.
Kovar was barely called into action again until the 84th minute when Liam Cullen was played in on goal, but he made himself big, narrowed the angles, and made an excellent save when a Swans goal would have made it 3-2 and a potentially nervy finish for United’s youngsters.
Aliou Traore then scored a fourth to wrap the game up for United.
What was impressive in Kovar’s performance was his self-belief and mental capacity to not dwell on the error. He has a positive mindset, which will result in his future performances benefiting from the goal he conceded.
He won’t want to let in a goal like that again. He will work tirelessly on the training ground to improve that part of his game.
The United stopper, who recently signed a new contract is a massive talent and will see his mishap as a learning curve, which will benefit his long-term development.
The very best make mistakes just look at David de Gea. Or even Dean Henderson.
Henderson made a clanger against Liverpool on loan for Sheffield United last month.
He has bounced back by keeping successive clean sheets, including in last night’s televised game against Arsenal.
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