It will be interesting to see what the media will write about Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea tomorrow morning after his incredible wonder saves against real Madrid in their Champions League tie at the Bernabeu tonight. The English media have conducted a witch hunt against De Gea since his move to United last season and at times the criticism has bordered on hysterical. Unfortunately, this is par for the course with our London based media here in the UK and is a constant barrage of propaganda against anything Manchester United. Of course, a young goalkeeper, in a foreign country and not able to speak the language, made things doubly difficult for him. However, tonight he surpassed some of the great keepers from the past with a display of unbelievable saves.
Do not be fooled by Jose Mourinho`s outwardly friendly disposition towards United and manager Sir Alex Ferguson, because his guard slipped during the post-match interview with a fit of pique about the tactics adopted by Manchester United in stopping Ronaldo. What he forgets is that these are the exact same tactics he adopted himself in the past when he was coach of Porto, then Chelsea and Inter Milan. It is a bit hypocritical of him now to object to another team doing the same thing to get a result. He should be more concerned by the fact that were it not for two glaring misses by Van Persie and a disgraceful refereeing decision not to send off Varane for a blatant foul on Evra when he was last man.
Mourinho states that he still sees the tie as 50/50, but he is in a minority of one where that hypothesis is concerned. United is a different proposition at Old Trafford, where they will have over 70,000 partisan fans screaming for them. Not just that, but Real have lost 8 times away from home this season and are showing signs of vulnerability. Moreover, they have two massive `El Clasico` encounters with Barcelona sandwiched between their Champions League matches with United. There will be both physical and mental tiredness after those two games and United will take advantage.
United also have the advantage of an away goal which counts double. But for Ronaldo`s incredible header tonight, Real would be heading to Old Trafford a goal behind. He will not score another goal like that especially at Old Trafford.
The return match at Old Trafford is on 5th March. I expect United to beat Real Madrid by at least 2 goals. Put that date in your diaries.