News Live Scores
Manchester United

'We all have ups and downs' - Reina offers backing to De Gea after end-of-season struggles

15:07 BST 29/05/2019
Pepe Reina David de Gea Spain
The AC Milan goalkeeper, who has been a team-mate of the Manchester United star at international level, has backed him to rediscover his best form

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has offered his support to David de Gea, insisting that he just needs to regain confidence to help him recover from his end-of-season struggles at Manchester United.

De Gea is widely regarded as one of the world's top goalkeepers, although a series of uncharacteristic errors at the end of the 2018-19 season saw him thrust into the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

Mistakes were made against the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were dumped out of the Champions League and failed to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League table.

There has been speculation that De Gea, whose contract expires at Old Trafford in 2020, could be looking to leave in the summer, but Reina is sure he is prepared to bounce back after a testing last couple of months.

He told Goal: "In my time at Liverpool something similar happened to me, we all have ups and downs. David has been the best player at Manchester United over the last four years and that means they expect a lot from you.

"With the national team his level has also improved lately. De Gea is well prepared, he only needs the confidence."

Keylor Navas is another goalkeeper who has endured a difficult season, with the Costa Rica international having been heavily rotated at Real Madrid during the 2018-19 campaign.

The undisputed No.1 during Zinedine Zidane's first spell in charge of Los Blancos, Navas has had to move aside at times during the last season to make way for Thibaut Courtois, who joined from Chelsea in 2018.

Upon Zidane's return in March, Navas was even overlooked for the France legend's son, Luca, who had previously made just one first-team appearance for the Liga giants.

And with there being suggestions that Navas will now be moved on in the summer, Reina thinks it has had a negative effect on the Madrid squad with the constant uncertainty over who will play in goal.

He said: "I am against rotations. In that position it is required to have the security of knowing that you are going to play and that you do not find out on Saturday in the pre-match talk.

"It is a security for us [as goalkeepers] and for those in front of you. We transmit more than meets the eye and that needs regularity."

Reina is currently back-up goalkeeper at AC Milan and he says he is enjoying helping out at the club, with one of his aims being to help develop No.1 and highly-rated Italy international Gianluigi Donnarumma.

"I have two more years of my contract and I am happy," he added. "I am consistent and when I arrived I knew that they had Donnarumma, a young goalkeeper of great quality who is growing a lot.

"And humbly, I also feel responsible. It was also my task to help Gigi, not only as a goalkeeper but so that he became a man and had more and more structure off the field.

"Now he has exploded [showcasing his ability in Serie A]. In the meantime, I work to be ready when I'm needed. I still enjoy the day-to-day, and if the head is feeling well, the body follows."