United boss turns fury on 'idiots in the game' who criticise De Gea
Alex Ferguson has vowed that Manchester United will protect goalkeeper David de Gea from the "idiots in the game" who rounded on the Spaniard in the wake of his costly mistake against Tottenham Hotspur.
The United manager, who also claimed that the Football Association's decision to investigate his post-match comments about linesman Simon Beck was "more about me than what I have said", appeared to be hitting back at criticism of De Gea from former United captain Gary Neville and Alan Hansen.
Hansen and Neville, in his role as a Sky Sports pundit, both highlighted the flaws in De Gea's game following the injury-time error which led to Spurs claiming a draw last Sunday.
Neville pointed to United captain Nemanja Vidic giving De Gea a "five or six-second stare" to underline his assertion that the goalkeeper had cost his team a victory.
However, despite conceding that De Gea was at fault for Clint Dempsey's goal, Ferguson insisted he would not listen to outside influences.
"I'm not getting into that at all," Ferguson said when asked about the criticism of De Gea. "You have to listen to some idiots in the game. It is better we deal with David de Gea. He had a fantastic game and was 30 seconds away from that.
"I remember talking about how well he played and then, 30 seconds from time, the ballpark changes. It is unfortunate for the lad, but he has to deal with it. We will help him.
"Outfield players maybe make 20 mistakes in a game, but they (goalkeepers) are in a crucial position. We are okay with him."
De Gea is expected to be retained in goal ahead of Anders Lindegaard for the FA Cup fourth-round tie against Fulham this evening, but United are searching for a goalkeeper to replace the former Atletico Madrid youngster this summer.
Ferguson, meanwhile, is bracing himself to be charged by the FA for criticising the performance of Beck during the 1-1 draw at Tottenham. Fellow managers Roberto Mancini and Harry Redknapp were "reminded of their responsibilities" by the FA this month after being asked to explain comments about referees during the Christmas period.
But Ferguson claims that his high-profile, and the influence of the media, have led to the FA being "panicked" into demanding an explanation for the remarks about Beck.
"I just think it is more about me than what I have said," Ferguson said. "Whether I think it is unfair or not doesn't matter to them really at this point.
"But you know the FA. We are high profile. I think the press plays its part. They panic when the press (get involved). The profile of me is such that the FA naturally panic as soon as the press criticise them. That is why they have sent me a letter."
In his response to the FA, Ferguson pointed to the rules not preventing managers from talking about the performance of officials, but he does not expect leniency. "I wouldn't bet on that. I've put my letter in, so we'll see what happens."
Ferguson, meanwhile, has paved the way for Nani to leave United after completing a deal worth up to £15m for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.