Solskjaer's first attempt to improve De Gea's form hasn't worked out

David de Gea’s form is under scrutiny again after the 1-1 draw against Everton on Sunday.

De Gea was the Premier League’s best goalkeeper of the last decade and had been the world’s best, but his performances have deteriorated under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Manchester United boss has already tried a reshuffle to improve the form of his first-choice goalkeeper, but it does not appear to have done the trick.

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What’s Solskjaer tried?

Last summer, Solskjaer brought Richard Hartis in as senior goalkeeping coach, having worked with him at Cardiff and Molde.


In September, goalkeeping coach Emilio Alvarez – who had a good relationship with de Gea – left Old Trafford rather suddenly.

He was replaced in December by Craig Mawson and Alvarez’s departure can be viewed in one of two ways.

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Help or hinderance?

Alvarez and de Gea apparently got along very well, and perhaps a reason behind his departure was that cordial relationship meant the coach wasn’t pushing the goalkeeper as hard as he could.

Perhaps de Gea slipped into something of a comfort zone and the response to his mistakes last season hadn’t been what Solskjaer expected.

Of course, it could be viewed in another way, that de Gea’s poor form has been exacerbated and prolonged by the sudden departure of a staff member he worked closely with and got along with.

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Solskjaer’s reshuffle hasn’t worked

Perhaps de Gea is just getting used to the new coaching team he is working with but it is fair to say Solskjaer’s changes haven’t worked yet.

De Gea has made seven Premier League errors which have led to goals over the past two seasons.

Two of them, Sunday’s blunder and Watford’s opening goal in December have been worse than anything he served up under any previous United boss.

Solskjaer has overseen some fairly major changes with regards his goalkeeping coaches and the form of his best goalkeeper has not improved – it has arguably worsened.

The United boss has improved key players like Fred and Marcus Rashford, but so far he has hit a wall with De Gea.

It should be back to the drawing board in terms of getting the best out of the man who was the best goalkeeper in world football when Solskjaer took over at Old Trafford.

One drastic solution is to walk away from it altogether, and give Dean Henderson the chance to take his place next season. Until then, United’s coaches have work to do.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.