- Premier League
Critics drove De Gea on
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has said that the criticism levelled at him during his relatively short time at the club has only served to intensify his determination to improve and succeed.
The 21-year-old arrived at Old Trafford from Atletico Madrid last summer and despite showing glimpses of the talent that persuaded United to sign him, he was also the recipient of some disparaging reactions to some of his displays.
The Spain Under-21 international briefly lost his place in United's starting XI to Anders Lindegaard, but has since rediscovered his form putting in further impressive displays as he has continued adjusting to life in the Premier League.
"I did receive one or two bits of criticism at the start of the season," said De Gea. "But it only served to make me a stronger person. It encouraged me to keep fighting and keep working hard.
"The important thing is not to let yourself get down because you can turn it around. Through hard work, I have waited for my chance and grabbed it.
"Fortunately now I am showing some good form. I hope this can continue right the way through until the end of the campaign."
De Gea intimated that his brief spell not being No. 1 choice had actually aided him, adding: "The time I spent on the bench helped me to reflect and think hard. It allowed me to regroup and made me more determined."
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson heaped praise on De Gea's progress in his first season at Old Trafford.
"We took him out for certain games in order to let him settle. It's not easy coming over here, as you know," said Ferguson. "Anders [Lindegaard] came in and did very well.
"We kept that process going for most of the time. But David had a bad game against Liverpool [in the FA Cup] so I felt at that point he needed to get his confidence back in terms of handling that defeat. He was better than that performance. Since then he's grasped the nettle.
"His training performances have always been fantastic anyway, but he's transferred that form to the game situation. He's done really well."