Some of the homework went ignored.
David de Gea didn’t exactly stick to the plan when it came to following his notes for Villarreal’s penalty takers in Wednesday night’s Europa League final shootout.
De Gea failed to save any of Villarreal’s 11 penalties in the shootout and it was the Manchester United goalkeeper’s failure to convert from the spot that ultimately handed the trophy to the La Liga side.
De Gea’s notes for the shootout were obtained by Sky Sports journalist Angelo Mangiante after the match and they show that the United ‘keeper followed the notes almost exactly for the first five penalties but still couldn’t keep out strikes from Paco Alcacer and Alberto Moreno, both of whom put their spot-kicks precisely where United expected them.
— Angelo Mangiante (@angelomangiante) May 26, 2021
David de Gea notes
It was after the flawless five penalties from Villarreal that De Gea began deviating from the plan as for the sixth, taken by Moises Gomez, the goalkeeper dived to his left when his notes instructed him to stay central, which he should have done as Gomez slotted his penalty straight down the middle.
In total, three of Villarreal’s 10 outfield takers struck their penalties in line with De Gea’s notes. The direction of Villarreal’s goalkeeper’s penalty was not anticipated in the notes.
DAVID DE GEA MISSES! ❌
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) May 26, 2021
There were some suggestions that substitute goalkeeper Dean Henderson should have replaced De Gea for the shootout as the latter doesn’t have the best record in saving penalties recently.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that he had considered making the dramatic change but ultimately opted against it.
Red Devils legend Paul Scholes insisted after the match that De Gea didn’t look like he was going to get anywhere close to Villarreal’s penalties.
“The penalties, you have to say… David… we spoke about his record before it, he didn’t look like saving a penalty,” Scholes said on BT Sport.
“They [United] got a little bit lucky with Luke Shaw’s penalty as well.”