United manager van Gaal defends goalkeeper after Swansea loss

London, Aug 31 (IANS) Manchester United manager Luis van Gaal has refused to criticise goalkeeper Sergio Romero despite suffering a shock defeat in their English Premier League (EPL) clash at Swansea City.

The former EPL champions are enduring some indifferent form, slumping to their first defeat of the season on Sunday when André Ayew and Bafétimbi Gomis scored past Romero after Juan Mata had put the visitors in the lead at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium.

Romero looked nervous throughout the match and rarely looked comfortable while handling the ball. He could have done better when Ayew beat him with a downward header to score Swansea’s equaliser.

The Argentine custodian showed some poor form again five minutes later when Gomis slipped a low shot past him at the near post.

But van Gaal refused to single out his goalkeeper, asserting that the entire team must share the blame for the defeat.

“You can write everything you want. What I always say is that defending starts in front and not only in the last line. You can always analyse errors. But I don’t think that is a good way. You have to see how the team is defending as a team and then I know what errors have been made,” van Gaal was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

“At the end, of course, the pressure for the last defender or goalkeeper is always higher. So I don’t agree when you only say, or want to write, that the goalkeeper today was not so good. It is not like that,” he added.

Sunday’s result was Swansea’s third consecutive victory over United in the EPL. The Old Trafford club’s woes have been compounded by uncertainty over the future of first choice goalkeeper David de Gea who has attracted strong interest from Real Madrid.

Van Gaal admitted that he did not know whether de Gea — who has joined up with the Spain squad for their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers — would be staying at Old Trafford, adding that the decision was not in his hands.

“I don’t know. We have to wait and see. I don’t want to interfere. As a manager we have divided our tasks and the task is for Ed Woodward, not for me. So I don’t want to interfere with words or nothing. It is a process and we have to wait and see, the club shall announce it when it is finished,” the Dutchman stated.

The manager however, denied that the de Gea episode has been unsettling for his players.

“We have coped with the situation by buying Romero. That is what we have done as a club to settle that issue. We have done it well,” van Gaal insisted.

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