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Erik ten Hag has backed under-fire André Onana by insisting the Manchester United goalkeeper is “the second best” in the Premier League.
Onana’s errors in the 3-3 draw with Galatasaray on Wednesday cost United a much-needed win in the Champions League to leave Ten Hag’s team on the brink of an early exit.
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But speaking ahead of the trip to Newcastle United on Saturday, the Dutchman highlighted the Cameroon international’s stats this season which include being ranked second in the Premier League for saves, save percentage and goals prevented.
“If you analyse it well then you see he is the second best goalkeeper in the Premier League based on stats,” Ten Hag told a news conference on Friday.
“He’s doing well but he knows that in the Champions League he has made some mistakes but all over in the first five months he has done well.”
Onana’s performance against Galatasaray has started a debate about whether the £43 million ($34m) summer signing from Inter Milan should be dropped for the game at St James’ Park.
It would mean handing a debut to Altay Bayindir, who hasn’t played a minute since arriving from Fenerbahce in August, but Ten Hag suggested that Onana will start against Newcastle.
“You have seen how he is reacting to a bad performance like in Munich and at Burnley [in the next game] he was outstanding,” Ten Hag said.
“He is a strong character. He’s a personality and he will deal with it.”
United’s poor form in the Champions League is in contrast to their form in the Premier League, where they’ve won five of their last six games.
Ten Hag will be without long-term absentees Casemiro and Lisandro Martínez for the game at Newcastle while Mason Mount remains a doubt with an injury picked up in training over the international break.
There are players on the way back but I can’t give a prognosis on how long it will take,” Ten Hag said.
“Mason Mount is returning on the pitch [on Friday] but I don’t know how long it will take in this moment.”