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Monday, March 20, 2023

David de Gea on Man United team spirit and Marcel Sabitzer initiation song

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The smile is fixed on David de Gea’s face and it looks like nothing is going to wipe it off. Forty-five minutes have passed since the final whistle blew on Manchester United’s latest Old Trafford success and their long-serving goalkeeper is still on cloud nine. In his 517 appearances for the club, De Gea has seen it all. He’s won the Premier League and been around when United sunk to rock bottom. Now, he’s beaming. The spirit is “great”, the atmosphere in the squad is “great”, the football is “great”. Everything is great, basically. For 70 minutes it looked like being a cruise against Crystal Palace, but then Casemiro got sent off and United had their backs to the wall. READ MORE: De Gea issues contract talks update Avoiding the bullets in those situations always makes victory taste a little sweeter but De Gea’s exuberance sums up the transformation in mood around the club. He even makes a joke out of Casemiro’s sending-off, a decision he clearly didn’t agree with. Before coming to speak to a small group of reporters he had posted a GIF of former boss Jose Mourinho on Twitter. Asked for his views on the decision in a corridor next to the tunnel, he quotes his former manager line for line – “I prefer not to talk because if I talk I’m in trouble” – and everyone breaks into laughter. It’s a change to see De Gea conducting interviews where smiles are his primary expression. He’s become a more vocal presence at the club in the last 18 months, emerging as a leader, but that meant he mastered the solemn post-match post-mortem last season. Not any longer, so what’s changed? “I think it’s everything, a good manager, good players who bring experience to the team, people who want the ball, who play well with the ball. It’s a mix of everything,” he said. “Everyone is ready, the people who aren’t playing much are training well, they’re ready to play and it’s great, we’re on a great run. “It’s great, the spirit is great, the atmosphere is great. Everyone is thinking in the same way, playing in the same way. I’ve been in very tough moments for this club, now I’m enjoying it more, winning games, especially here at home, it’s great to watch. “The team spirit is great from everyone, everyone fights until the end, and everyone is ready from the bench to perform well. It’s great to watch the team playing and performing well.” That spirit makes it a welcoming environment for new arrivals, of which there have been three so far. United might be one of the biggest clubs in the world, but that doesn’t make new signings immune from the usual initiation ceremonies that are part and parcel of moving clubs. At some point, Marcel Sabitzer will have to get up with a microphone in hand to entertain his new teammates. “He’s not done it yet but when we go for dinner somewhere he’s going to sing in front of everyone,” said De Gea. “He’s already talking with everyone, he looks like he’s been in the team for a long time. He’s a great lad. “He’s an experienced guy, he played a lot of games in the Bundesliga, he’s a nice guy, a very nice lad, it’s good for the dressing room. I think he showed in 15 minutes [against Palace], it’s not easy to come in a game when we’re one man less, he showed good spirit, I think he’s going to help the team a lot.” Singing won’t be the first thing on Sabitzer’s mind this week, with Casemiro’s red card meaning a three-game ban at a time when Scott McTominay, Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek are sidelined. That means the Austrian is an almost certain starter for the next three games and United found it tough without Casemiro at the Emirates recently, but De Gea is confident they can cope. “It’s going to be tough for sure. We lost already Christian, now Case, big players for us, but we have a bigger squad, players are ready to play, everyone is really focused,” he said. “He (Sabitzer) shows already, he played 15 to 20 minutes, he did really well, made some good tackles, good with the ball. Everyone is ready to play.” READ NEXT: United player ratings vs Crystal Palace United win bring best out of cult hero Martinez Rashford is United’s best player in three positions United got a sign of what’s to come after Casemiro red card All the United news and views Story SavedYou can find this story in  My Bookmarks.Or by navigating to the user icon in the top right.

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