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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backs 'mentally strong' David De Gea after Manchester United goalkeeper's FA Cup gaffes

Two mistakes from United keeper and an own goal gift Chelsea their pass into final

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Bad day: David De Gea can’t keep Olivier Giroud’s header out

Bad day: David De Gea can’t keep Olivier Giroud’s header out

Bad day: David De Gea can’t keep Olivier Giroud’s header out

Bad day: David De Gea can’t keep Olivier Giroud’s header out

Bad day: David De Gea can’t keep Olivier Giroud’s header out

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has once again had to jump to the defence of under-fire goalkeeper David De Gea after his blunders helped Chelsea secure an all-London FA Cup Final with Arsenal.

Solskjaer ditched his usual FA Cup keeper Sergio Romero to keep faith with De Gea but the Spain international contributed to his side’s downfall in their 3-1 defeat at Wembley.

De Gea made a poor attempt to deal with Olivier Giroud’s flick in first-half stoppage time, then fumbled Mason Mount’s tame 20-yard shot into the net moments after the restart.

Harry Maguire scored an own goal and Bruno Fernandes’ late penalty was no consolation.

“I can’t speak for David de Gea's confidence but he is mentally very strong,” said Solskjaer.

De Gea has made a number of errors over the last 18 months and has Dean Henderson snapping at his heels having shone on loan at Sheffield United.

Solskjaer added: "He knows he should save that one 100 times out of 100 but that's football for you. I made the decision to play him and mentally he was ready for it.

"Obviously everyone has to perform and everyone has a chance every time we perform to stake a claim in the team.

"David knows he should have saved the second goal but that's done now.

"It's so much easier for outfield players. David showed (his character) in the rest of the game with a few good saves, but he knows he could have saved that one. We've got to move, we've got to look forward to Wednesday (against West Ham in the Premier League).

"It's hard for a keeper to make amends, apart from David making two or three fantastic saves after. But you see Brandon (Williams), for example - the character he shows. He plays a square pass into Mount, he probably feels a bit responsible and the rest of the half he was absolutely outstanding.

"The kid has been out for a while, not played, out with an eye injury and his character and personality out there, he kept going, kept going."

De Gea's error all but settled a semi-final that they were already down in, with Solskjaer saying Eric Bailly's first-half injury destabilised United before Giroud's opener.

The defender was involved in a sickening clash of heads with Maguire and was taken away on a stretcher, having initially gone off looking groggy.

"Eric's in hospital," Solskjaer said. "They're going through all the routine checks and the protocols. He got a cut in the back of his head as well, so I don't really know from that (how he is). I haven't heard, haven't spoken to the doctor about him.

"But of course that had a big, big impact on the game."

Boss Frank Lampard heaped praise on Chelsea's players for setting up an all-London final with Arsenal on August 1.

"Obviously it is a great achievement for us to get there," Chelsea boss Lampard said. "To win a semi is a great thing, to win a final is the thing.

"We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves but we can certainly enjoy the performance and the result today. I'm not sure where it ranks in the season. It is obviously right up there because of the size of the game and quality of the opponent. But we have had some good performances this season."

Belfast Telegraph