De Gea has United support
David De Gea has the full trust of Man United, according to assistant boss Mike Phelan and Chris Smalling.
Last Updated: 16/08/11 8:57am
Goalkeeper David De Gea has the full trust of Manchester United, according to assistant manager Mike Phelan and defender Chris Smalling.
The Spaniard, signed from Atletico Madrid this summer following the retirement of Edwin van der Sar at the end of last season, conceded a soft goal at West Brom but finished on the winning side as United kicked off their title defence with a 2-1 win at The Hawthorns.
The failure to make what looked like a routine save from Shane Long on Sunday followed a difficult day against Manchester City in the Community Shield, when again United recovered to win.
But Phelan and Smalling are adamant there is no cause for alarm, as the former said: "Young or old, goalkeepers make mistakes.
"We have got trust in him. He will be a good Premier League goalkeeper."
Smalling added: "He is making some good saves. His agility and kicking are excellent, we have seen that in pre-season. He is going to be a top goalkeeper."
Meanwhile, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, United's first-choice central defensive pairing, have been ruled out for two and six weeks respectively.
In Ferdinand's case, his hamstring injury means he will not feature United's first UEFA Champions League group game, plus England's Euro 2012 double-header with Bulgaria and Wales.
Captain Vidic will miss home encounters with Tottenham and Arsenal as he nurses a calf injury.
Yet Smalling and Jonny Evans have already proved themselves to be able deputies when required and United also have the highly-rated Phil Jones in their ranks following his summer arrival from Blackburn.
"You don't want to lose your big players," said Smalling. "Rio and Vida are leaders. For years they have been the main part of this team and one of the reasons why we have won so much.
"But with the (England) Under 21s over the summer, we all said we were hoping to get a chance.
"For it to actually happen is a different thing entirely. But the manager has shown that faith in us."
A bonus for United on Monday night was midfielder Darren Fletcher's return from illness in a reserve-team clash against Arsenal.
The Scotland captain, with just two first-team appearances to his name since March owing to a mystery virus, played the full 90 minutes as Arsenal won 2-1 at Underhill.
Ecuador winger Antonio Valencia (ankle) was expected to play some part, but he was not involved.