David de Gea’s commitment questioned as Manchester United goalkeeper concedes 36th straight penalty before missing his own in dramatic Europa League final defeat to Villarreal
David de Gea will grab the headlines for the wrong reasons after failing to save 11 penalties and then missing the crucial spot-kick in Manchester United’s shootout defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final.
United missed out on a chance to end the 2020/21 campaign with silverware after a drab 1-1 draw forced the most dramatic penalty shootout in Gdansk.
All 22 players on the pitch were forced to take a spot-kick, with De Gea the only man to miss as the shootout ended 11-10 to the Spanish club.
While nobody can blame a goalkeeper for failing to convert, questions will be asked of the Spaniard’s inability to stop them.
The keeper is always the underdog in a shootout, and there were some extraordinary Villarreal penalties, but De Gea will no doubt be disappointed he couldn’t keep out all 11.
In fact, his record in recent times makes for even more grim reading, as that’s now 36 consecutive penalties faced without producing a save.
Manchester United fan and talkSPORT host Hugh Woozencroft suggested a lack of commitment from De Gea in the shootout was indicative of the Red Devils’ performance on the night.
“David de Gea never commits to try and make a save!” Woozencroft said. “Gero Rulli, the Villarreal goalkeeper, got his hands to two of them and should’ve saved a few.
“But there was a difference in commitment, not just from the goalkeepers in the shootout, although there were some excellent penalties, but from the two sides tonight.
“Maybe I’m just a hurt Manchester United fan, but I really can’t understand what I’ve seen in a big European final. This is supposed to be one of the biggest clubs in the world, who shouldn’t even be in the Europa League supposedly.
“Not to take too much away from Villarreal, but it was uninspiring. And that’s being complimentary.”
Meanwhile, former United midfielder Paul Scholes admitted De Gea had not come close to saving any of the Spanish side’s efforts.
He told BT Sport: “I have to say, David – we spoke about his record before it – he didn’t look like saving a penalty. They got a little bit lucky with Luke Shaw’s penalty as well.”