Onana among Premier League’s best goalkeepers, insists Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag rode to the defence of under-fire goalkeeper Andre Onana on Friday as he claimed the Cameroonian’s stats prove he is among the Premier League’s best.
Onana’s United tenure has been marred by high-profile errors in the Champions League, which have pushed the Red Devils to the verge of elimination. He was to blame for two Hakim Ziyech free kicks that sparked Galatasaray’s comeback in a 3-3 draw in Istanbul on Wednesday. United already has 14 goals conceded in their five Champions League outings.
But it’s been a different story in the Premier League, where Onana has only allowed 16 goals in 13 games. Ten Hag also highlighted to statistics that suggest the former Ajax stopper ranks second in the English Premier League in saves made, save %, and goals averted. “If you look at the stats, he’s the second-best goalkeeper in the Premier League,” Ten Hag, who championed Onana’s £47 million ($59 million) move from Inter Milan in July, said at a press conference on Friday.
“He’s doing fine. Also, he is aware that he makes mistakes in the Champions League, but he has done exceptionally well in the first five months.” United’s Premier League recovery, which has seen them win five of their last six games, will be put to the test on Saturday when they go to Newcastle. Ten Hag, on the other hand, dismissed any notion that Onana’s spot in the team was in jeopardy.
“You’ve seen how he reacts to a poor performance, such as in (Bayern) Munich. “He was outstanding at Burnley (three days later),” Ten Hag added. “He is a strong character, he is a personality and he will deal with it.” United’s recent run has vaulted them over Newcastle into sixth place in the table. However, all of their Premier League victories this season have come against teams in the bottom half of the standings.
In contrast, they have lost all four meetings against teams in the top half of the standings. And Ten Hag recognized that when up against tough opponents, his team must rise to the occasion. “We have to rise to the occasion, be our best against them because the way they play is very organised,” he stated before of the trip to Newcastle. “I have a lot of respect for them.” It’s a difficult team to play against, but it’s a fun task, and I enjoy doing so.”