The Manchester United boss remains enraged by the West Ham striker's challenge on his goalkeeper during Wednesday's 2-2 draw at Upton Park, but praised the bravery of the Spaniard
The incident occurred in the first half of the Red Devils' 2-2 draw at Upton Park on Wednesday evening, when the on-loan Liverpool forward clattered into the Spaniard following a corner. His robust challenge left both De Gea and Patrice Evra requiring treatment.
The former Atletico Madrid shot-stopper has received a great deal of criticism since his move to Old Trafford, with much of it focusing on his lack of physical presence and inability to deal with congested penalty areas.
His manager, though, disagrees with such criticism and believes that the 22 year-old came through yet another stern examination against a Hammers side who have lost only four games at home all season.
Speaking to MUTV, Ferguson recalled: "His first game last season was away to West Brom. The referee felt he was a young goalkeeper, who was not used to English football. There was a laxity in terms of protection for him.
"That has passed now, but Wednesday was beyond the pale. Let’s be honest, there was an assault on him.
"But he stood up to it. He didn’t let it affect him. He was brave and got on with his job."
De Gea is closing in on his first Premier League winners' medal with his new club, which now requires just two wins from its remaining five games in order to clinch the title.