Erik ten Hag claims Andre Onana is the second best goalkeeper in the Premier League | OneFootball

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·2 December 2023

Erik ten Hag claims Andre Onana is the second best goalkeeper in the Premier League

Article image:Erik ten Hag claims Andre Onana is the second best goalkeeper in the Premier League


  • Onana's recent struggles have raised doubts about his place in the United team, but manager Erik ten Hag defends him.
  • Ten Hag highlights Onana's strong defensive stats in the Premier League and believes he will bounce back from his mistakes.
  • Despite some errors in the Champions League, Onana has shown potential and Ten Hag is confident in his abilities as a goalkeeper.

Erik ten Hag has leapt to the defence of Andre Onana in the wake of the Manchester United goalkeeper's recent struggles. The Cameroon international had looked to be finding his feet for the Red Devils after making several mistakes in his first few months at Old Trafford, but two mistakes in the midweek Champions League clash against Galatasaray may have cost his side a place in the knockout rounds of the competition.

Onana's place in the United team has been under intense scrutiny ever since his £47.2 million move from Inter Milan in the summer 2023 transfer window. The controversy surrounding the transfer wasn't about the ability of the man who had starred in a Champions League final for Inter Milan against Manchester City, but more about the treatment of his predecessor.

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David de Gea was the main man in between the sticks for the Red Devils for over a decade, dating back to Sir Alex Ferguson's final years at the club. The Spanish goalkeeper was originally offered a new contract as his deal was set to expire at the end of June, but that offer was later retracted and the experienced shot-stopper was allowed to leave on a free transfer.

Expectations were high for the incoming Onana, but mistakes against Galatasaray, Bayern Munich, and Nottingham Forest - among others - have swiftly turned that expectation into doubt.

Erik ten Hag defends Onana

In the build-up to Man United's trip to St James' Park on Saturday night to face Newcastle United, Ten Hag was asked about his goalkeeper's recent struggles, to which he replied, per BBC Sport: "If you analyse it well then you see he is the second-best goalkeeper in the Premier League based on stats, so his expected defending goals is the second best in the Premier League."

The Dutchman didn't stop there with his complimentary comments about the 27-year-old, as he continued: "He's doing well. Also, he knows that in the Champions League, he makes some mistakes, but all over you see the first five months he is doing particularly well. You have seen how he reacted to a bad performance like in Munich. At Burnley he was outstanding. He is a strong character, he is a personality and he will deal with it."

Very high praise indeed from the manager who helped Onana break into the Ajax team several years ago. That pre-existing relationship between the pair could provide the keeper with somewhat of a safety blanket amid fears he may be dropped if his poor form continues.

Onana: Statistically one of the Premier League's best goalkeepers

Ten Hag's claims may seem ludicrous to many fans, but Onana has the joint-most clean sheets in the English top-flight so far in the 2023/24 campaign, as he is level with Nick Pope and Sam Johnstone on five shut-outs. Per BBC Sport, the former Ajax star has also prevented 3.67 goals - the second-most in the division. Only Luton Town's Thomas Kaminski (an impressive 6.3 goals prevented) can boast a better record thus far in the league.

One of the biggest reasons behind his signing was the ability he has with the ball at his feet and the 27-year-old also shows up well in the passing statistics. Onana has completed 34 line-breaking passes, placing him third in the league in this metric.

In the interest of balance, Onana has also made four errors that have led directly to shots on goal during his team's underwhelming Champions League campaign. There are certainly areas to improve on - with confidence perhaps being the biggest - but there are still signs of a good goalkeeper within Onana and Ten Hag is unwilling to give up on his number one just yet.

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