David De Gea’s error in Manchester United’s 1-0 loss to West Ham loosened his team’s grip on the final Champions League qualification place on Sunday.

The Spain goalkeeper let Said Benrahma’s hopeful shot from 20 meters slip over his glove and into the net to condemn Erik Ten Hag’s team to back-to-back defeats in the Premier League, after a 1-0 loss at Brighton on Thursday.

“Mistakes are part of football and in this team you have to deal with it and bounce back because it is a team sport,” Ten Hag said. “Over the season, he is the one with the most clean sheets and also we did it as a team.

It can happen, it’s football but everybody has to take responsibility.”

United now lies just one point ahead of a rapidly advancing Liverpool, albeit with a game in hand, but an eighth loss on the road this season could prove as costly for the visitors as it was priceless for West Ham.

West Ham climbed seven points above the relegation zone and are surely now safe ahead of two matches against AZ Alkmaar in the semifinals of the Europa Conference League.

“As players, you can’t help to look around you,” West Ham midfielder Declan Rice said. “To win this one was big to give ourselves a gap between ourselves and the bottom.”

De Gea’s match began inauspiciously when his poor clearance flew to the feet of Rice, whose run into the area was only curtailed by a last-ditch tackle from Wout Weghorst.

Marcus Rashford curled over for the visitors while Bruno Fernandes and Antony smashed low shots narrowly wide.

Christian Eriksen’s effort also floated too high before Rashford cut inside Thilo Kehrer and crashed his shot against the outside of the near post.

The goal arrived in the 27th minute and it is not one De Gea will want to see again.

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1 Comment

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    12/12/2023

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