Jose Mourinho has confirmed David De Gea will start in goal for Manchester United in Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley, despite Sergio Romero’s excellent form in the competition.
Romero, Argentina’s first-choice goalkeeper, was selected for each of the Reds’ first seven domestic cup encounters this season, before he picked up an injury in his country’s friendly defeat to Spain on 27 March. The knee problem ruled him out of United’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in last month’s FA Cup semi-final.
United’s no.20 returned to first-team action in last Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League victory over Watford at Old Trafford, and made a superlative save to deny a goalbound header from Hornets forward Richarlison in the first half as he kept another clean sheet.
But when asked which man would be preferred for this weekend’s high-stakes cup final, Mourinho admitted: “Yeah, De Gea plays.
“He [Romero] was injured for a long, long time – around two-and-something months,” continued the boss. “He didn’t play some matches that normally would be his matches, the semi-final against Tottenham, a couple more matches before the final. He trained only one week before the Watford match, and a little bit more before.
“And that’s the reason,” stated the Portuguese coach. “It’s not about trust, it’s not about my confidence in him, because you could have felt [my trust and confidence] last season when the Europa League final was a much, more important match than this one.
“Because the Europa League was giving us the possibility to play Champions League and that is the first objective of any top-six club – to finish [in the] top four – and because we didn’t, it was to win the Europa League.
“And I played the Europa League final with Sergio, so it’s not about confident or no confidence, it’s about the process of the last couple of months since he had an important injury against Spain.”
Romero began all of United’s knockout matches on the road to the Europa League final in Stockholm in 2016/17, and kept a clean sheet as the Reds beat Ajax 2-0 to claim the trophy for the first time in the club’s history.
But, despite his excellent comeback against Watford, and six clean sheets in his last seven FA Cup appearances, the Argentinian giant looks set to be on the bench this weekend behind our Player of the Year.