Juan Mata hopes Manchester United will become less reliant on David de Gea over the rest of the season.
Not for the first time this year, De Gea put in an outstanding display at Old Trafford to help United record a 3-0 win over Liverpool on Sunday.
The man of the match saved two close-range efforts from Raheem Sterling and also tipped Mario Balotelli’s fierce shot on to the bar in the second half of the Barclays Premier League clash.
The 24-year-old won United all three points against Everton earlier this season with two stunning late saves and he also played a key role in the team’s triumph over Southampton last Monday.
Mata has been impressed by De Gea’s form this season, but he would prefer it if his compatriot was not so busy.
The United midfielder wrote on his blog: “We won, among other things, thanks to the ‘Man of the Match’ David de Gea, who has had yet another great performance.
“He is in top form. Everybody’s praising him and now we have to keep working so we don’t need so many saves from him in the next few games; we have to get better in that regard.”
Many questioned Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to sign De Gea in 2011 after he made several costly errors in his first season.
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But he is now regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world alongside the likes of Manuel Neuer, Joe Hart and Thibaut Courtois. Mata added: “It’s tough to find anyone better than him. He’s been in top form since the beginning of the season and has saved a lot of points for us.
“David gives us complete confidence. Liverpool created chances and they didn’t score because of him.”
The reflex save to nudge Balotelli’s powerful volley on to the woodwork from point-blank range was impressive, but the pick of De Gea’s saves came in the second half when he denied Sterling.
Sterling picked up on a short backpass from Jonny Evans and attempted to round De Gea, but the Spaniard remained on his feet and jockeyed the England winger wide, forcing him into a weak shot.
De Gea’s progress has not gone unnoticed by Real Madrid, who are interested in signing him as a long-term replacement for Iker Casillas.
United, however, hope the player will sign an extension to his current contract, which expires in 18 months’ time.
Meanwhile, Mata refuses to get carried away despite a sixth successive win, which keeps United in third place, eight points behind leaders Chelsea.
Mata, who scored the second goal on Sunday, said: “The team has to keep working as we did in the last few weeks.
“That’s why we are improving. In just a few days we play against Aston Villa in a stadium with a very good atmosphere, where winning is always tough, and right after that we will be in Christmas. We have to maintain this positive streak and try to get as many points as possible this month.”
Meanwhile, Kolo Toure thinks speculation over Brendan Rodgers’ future is “crazy” and has backed the Liverpool manager to turn things around at Anfield.
Liverpool slumped to tenth in the Premier League after their seventh and most damaging defeat of the season at the home of arch-rivals United. But Toure thinks the criticism of Rodgers has been harsh considering that he was just two points short of guiding Liverpool to their first title in 24 years last season.
“It’s crazy to even talk about his future,” the Liverpool defender said. “He’s a great manager.”
Toure is indebted to Rodgers for getting him out of Manchester City, where he struggled to hold down a first-team place after a £16million move from Arsenal.
He said: “We’re all behind him and we’re all trying to make things better. We all love him.
“He gave me another chance by bringing me in to Liverpool and now I am playing at one of the best clubs in the world.
“We will all do our best to get him and the club out of this situation.”
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